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Kennedy Boulevard Makeover: LED Lights, Wider Sidewalks, Extended Turn Lanes Coming To Major Tampa Roadway

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TAMPA, Fla.Kennedy Boulevard is a critical link to and from downtown Tampa, while also serving as an alternate to Interstate 275 during rush hour.

If you’ve driven along Kennedy Blvd. this month, you’ve likely noticed the construction currently underway, including overnight lane closures this week.

The project will make safety enhancements and pedestrian improvements to a nearly two-mile stretch from West Shore Boulevard to the west of MacDill Avenue in Tampa.

According to the Florida Department of Transportation, improvements include widening and repairing sections of sidewalks, upgrading highway lighting, adjusting traffic signal timings, closing some medians. Additionally, the project will extend some turn lanes to give drivers more room to leave the through-lane and stop to make a left-hand turn.

“Some median areas have almost 40 crashes over the last few years,” FDOT spokesperson Kristen Carson said. “The left-hand crashes are the most severe, so we are making these median changes for safety.”

Construction of the project was initially anticipated for fall 2021 after the improvements were announced in late 2020. However, work did not begin until Feb. 2. FDOT is urging drivers to use caution while traveling through the work zone and to allow extra travel time with delays likely.

“The whole point of this project is to improve the safety of the roadway. We took a look at the whole corridor. We had consulting come in and DOT studied this. And there were a lot of crashes. Way too many crashes,” Carson said. “So what we are going to do is go in and make a lot of changes to the medians. We know that can be hard for some motorists to take at first because it is change. But there will be a learning curve and motorists will eventually understand why we have to do this.”

The nearly $4.8 million project is set to finish in early 2023.

 

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