TAMPA, FL (WFLA) — Major improvements are underway in the southern part of downtown Tampa. Starting Monday, drivers should notice the left lane closed on Channelside Drive between Florida Avenue and Jefferson Street due to roadwork taking place.
It’s the first phase of a project that will pave the way for over 50 acres of major new development between the Channel District and Downtown Tampa. The initial phase focuses on setting the groundwork from Morgan Street to Meridian Avenue, and between Channelside Drive and Cumberland Avenue.
Vice President of Strategic Property Partners, Courtland Corbino, explains why the roadwork is taking place. “We are partnering with the city to improve the infrastructure and the overall network. We’re going to make it safer and more efficient for traffic.”
Channelside Drive currently heads eastbound from Franklin Street to Caesar Street. After the first phase is completed, it will head both directions between Morgan Street and Caesar Street, which will allow drivers to travel from the Channel District to the Amalie Arena with ease.
Corbino says the project will be set in stages. The initial two stages will consist of roadwork and infrastructure, and should last around two years.
Construction will begin on some buildings but the majority of the development will come afterward. “In the next five years you will see a dramatic transformation in this area,” adds Corbino.
Also, Old Water Street will extend creating a new north south connection. Jefferson Street will become a complete two way street and connect with Channelside Dr. This will open up traffic running north and south as well.
Corbino says making the area more accessible to pedestrians and bikers is a priority. He adds the Greenway bike path will be connected to the new bike lanes, and to the city’s Riverwalk, so the entire area will be thoroughly connected with bike lanes with an added 3,200 feet of new pedal space.
In addition, 338 new on-street parking spaces will be added. Also some sidewalks used for walking to the Arena will be widened to 20 feet to ease pedestrian congestion during large events.
In an effort to accommodate the public, Corbino says all roadwork will be suspended whenever there is a big event planned at the Amalie Arena.