Officials warn of heavy Tampa traffic in coming weeks

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Over the coming weeks, thousands of people will flock to Tampa to watch the Outback Bowl, the College Football Playoff National Championship and to celebrate the new year.

All of those football fans and people will lead to congestion on area roads.

“We think it will be between 70 and 100,000 (people). It’s tough to tell before the event actually happens. We also project it to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 60,000 hotel visitor room nights,” said Tampa Bay Sports Commission Executive Director Rob Higgins.

As excitement builds, the Florida Department of Transportation wants to help visitors navigate busy holiday and game day traffic, especially during the College Football Playoff National Championship on January 9th at Raymond James Stadium.

“It could be Alabama and Clemson, which are two neighboring states…a lot of people driving in that don’t know the Tampa Bay area. Washington and Ohio, they fly in and rent cars, they don’t know the area. Our traffic patterns are going to change. The normal way that you go to work might not work for you during the next week or so,” said Mike Wacht of Florida 511, which is a website that provides information about traffic in Florida.

Roads will be busy and transportation officials suggest checking out Florida 511 before hitting the streets.

“It provides real time information on traffic conditions out on the roadways so you can know before you go,” said Wacht

Traffic cameras, crashes, construction, congestion — it’s all featured on Florida 511 mobile app and website, helping you get to where you’re going safely and on time.

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