Traffic headaches mean beginning of Tampa’s Channelside revitalization

The view of downtown Tampa from Eagle 8.
The view of downtown Tampa from Eagle 8.

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) –  Residents on Harbour Island are preparing to deal with more traffic challenges when part of Tampa’s popular Channelside drive is shut down for 8 weeks, starting August 10th. “It’s going to present a challenge with Franklin Bridge being closed and 9,000 people on the island.  All getting on and off at the same time,” said Brad Ramer who lives on Harbour Island.

“It’s going to really boggle things up,” said resident Tom Markovich. At Ferg’s Live on Channelside, the roadway will be shut down right in front of their business. “The pedestrian crossways are still going to be there so all the employee from across the street or Channelside can still walk here,” said manager Bryan Dill.

But those behind the revamp of the Channelside area, tell News Channel 8 that this is just a growing pain. “We have plenty of land that needs to be developed. We have to endure some short term pain for the long term gain.  We need to lay all kinds of conduits and we need to give Verizon and bright house and other provider opportunities to tie this building to what is going to be built across the street,” said Bill Wickett , Executive Vice President for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“It’s a very, very small step even though it’s going to take 8 weeks, but it’s the first step in the development process for SPP.  There’s not a lot that generally goes on in August and September 17th hockey preseason starts and we hope we are done by then,” said Wickett.  And if you don’t like the road closure, it seems like it will get worse before all is said and done. “Several of the roadways around Amalie Arena will be realigned. This is kind of the first step in getting all of that moving,” said Wickett.

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