TAMPA, Fla. - If you don't have to use the Veterans Expressway every day, many who do say consider yourself lucky.
Department of Transportation officials say150,000 cars go through there every day. Traffic is reportedly worst heading north during afternoon rush hour and heading south during rush hour in the mornings.
Greg Kalhorn says he dives from New Port Richey to Tampa."It's a nightmare. I've been driving it for 12 years. It only gets worse."
Joe Obando says, "You can see all the cars, everyone with their hands waiting."
"Not enough lanes traffic is ridiculous," adds Greg.
Motorists say the gridlock is worst when entering the toll plazas, especially around Waters and Anderson Avenue. "The Waters Avenue toll plaza goes from two lanes to, I think, eight, then back to two," explains Greg.
The Department of Transportation has a plan to ease rush hour traffic, but it will take three years to complete.
View project plan here.
Later this fall, the Florida Turnpike division will begin expanding the Veterans Expressway by two lanes each way through a 14-mile stretch from Memorial Highway to Gunn Highway. An artist's rendering of the Water-Anderson area will have two lanes for the Waters on-ramp and next is the northbound off-ramp for Anderson Avenue and to the west of it four through lanes.
In Phase II of the expansion project, all the cash tolls, including the ones on the ramps, will be torn down and replaced with electronic SunPass tolls.
Joe says, "Great. If it gets done sooner even better. A plan needs to be in place. Congestion is complete gridlock."
Greg adds, "If I can take 10-15 minutes off of my 45-minute drive, even 5 minutes, I'd be happy with."
Construction on the $236 million project starts this fall and is expected to be completed by 2015. Turnpike officials ask motorists for patience and hopefully by 2015 the drive on the Veterans will be a smooth one.
Turnpike officials will hold an informal information meeting at 7 p.m. on April 10th for the public to look at the design plans, maps, and drawings. The meeting will be at Sandy Perrone Park Recreation Center, 5120 Kelly Road.