Interstate 275 Florida
Interstate 275 in Florida loops through urban areas of Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties in the Tampa Bay area. The freeway joins Downtown Tampa with Downtown St. Petersburg while connecting Pinellas County with Palmetto and Bradenton in Manatee County. Interstate 75, by contrast, bypasses both cities to the east, doubling as a commuter route for Gibsonton, Brandon, New Tampa and Wesley Chapel and carrying regional traffic between Southwest Florida and the Nature Coast.
Interstate 275 starts at a three-wye interchange with I-75 outside Palmetto and extends west through Terra Ceia to the tolled Sunshine Skyway Bridge across Tampa Bay. Northward the freeway winds through St. Petersburg to the eight lane wide Howard Frankland Bridge across Old Tampa Bay. The span turns I-275 east to Westshore in Tampa en route to the central business district and Downtown Interchange with Interstate 4. There the freeway turns almost due north through north Tampa to unincorporated areas of Lutz. Located along the Pasco County line at Wesley Chapel, the northern merge point of I-75/275 is known as the Apex.
North End – Wesley Chapel, FL
South End – Ellenton, FL
Mileage – 60.64
Cities – St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park, Tampa
- Junctions –
Source: December 31, 2017 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
I-275 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)
|Location||Vehicles per day|
|Downtown St. Petersburg||121,500|
|Harris Park, St. Petersburg||179,000|
|Howard Frankland Br||189,500|
|Sulphur Springs, Tampa||181,000|
Source: 2017 AADT Florida Traffic Online (FDOT)
The Howard Frankland Bridge initially opened with four lanes in 1960. A second span was added in 1990. A future project will replace the older northbound span with a new bridge, proposed for 2020 to 2025.
The original layout for the Tampa Bay Interstate network took Interstate 4 west from Tampa to St. Petersburg and Interstate 75 south from Pasco County to an end at the Downtown Interchange near Ybor City. Changes were made in 1971, when I-75 was routed southward over I-4 west from Downtown Tampa to Pinellas as part of its extended alignment south to Naples. The eastern alignment of I-75 around Tampa Bay was given the designation of Interstate 75E. This change lasted just two years, when I-75 shifted eastward over proposed I-75E and I-275 was designated over the loop through both Tampa and St. Pete.
Interstate 275 crosses the cable stayed Sunshine Skyway Bridge over the mouth of Tampa Bay. On May 9, 1980, the southbound span of the original Sunshine Skyway Bridge (a steel truss bridge) collapsed when the Summit Venture freighter collided with a bridge support. This led to two-way traffic on the remaining northbound span until the replacement was built. Ultimately, the old bridge was removed, though portions of the approach in both directions were retained for use as fishing piers run by the state park system.
The following are key dates in the history of Interstate 275 in Florida:1
- 1973 – Interstate 275 created when Interstate 75 is shifted from the St. Petersburg-Tampa route to the Tampa Bay bypass. At that time, Interstate 275 was complete from 38th Street North in St. Petersburg north to Lutz. The Sunshine Skyway also carried Interstate 275 shields. The portion of Interstate 275 between the skyway (near Maximo Point) and 38th Street North was unconstructed.
- 1975 – Interstate 275 under construction from 5th Avenue South north to 38th Street North.
- 1977 – Interstate 275 opened from 5th Avenue South north to 38th Street North in St. Petersburg.
- 1980 – Interstate 275 under construction from Interstate 75 near Gillette west to Terra Ceia. Tragedy struck I-275 when the ship Summit Venture collided with the original Sunshine Skyway. 35 people died in this accident, and one of the two spans collapsed.
- 1981 – Interstate 275 under construction from Maximo Point (northern end of the Sunshine Skyway) north to 5th Avenue. The northern terminus of Interstate 275 was extended up former Interstate 75 to near Worthington Gardens.
- 1983 – Two sections of Interstate 275 opened: the south interchange with I-75 and the section of I-275 from Maximo Point (northern end of the Sunshine Skyway) north to 5th Avenue South.
- 1984 – Replacement Sunshine Skyway (a new cable-stayed bridge) was under construction.
- 1987 – New Sunshine Skyway opened on April 30th. At that point, Interstate 275 was complete.
North End – Wesley Chapel, Florida
South End – Ellenton, Florida
|Perspective from Interstate 275 south|
|Passing over U.S. 41, a diagrammatic sign outlines the forthcoming three-wye interchange with Interstate 75. Photo taken 12/24/16.|
|East of Frog Creek, I-275 enters the half mile approach to Interstate 75. Two lanes default onto the freeway south to Ellenton, Bradenton, Sarasota, Fort Myers and Naples. Photo taken 12/24/16.|
|Passing under 36th Avenue East (former SR 683), the ramp for I-275 north to Sun City Center, Ruskin and Tampa departs for a high speed flyover. Two lanes otherwise continue onto I-75 south, with milepost zero posted ahead. Photo taken 12/24/16.|
|Historic Perspective from Interstate 275 south|
|The original diagrammatic overhead posted one mile out from the I-275 south end. Photo taken by Gary S. Peterson (01/03).|
|Naples remains the control city for I-75 south from Tampa where the route ended until signs went up along Alligator Alley in 1991. Photo taken 12/00.|
|Another set of original guide signs for I-75 posted as I-275 ends. All of the Interstate 75 guide panels on Interstate 275 were replaced by January of 2003. The city of Sarasota is 18 miles to the south while Fort Myers will be reached in 88 miles. Photo taken 12/00.|
|Perspective from Interstate 75 south|
|Just southwest of the diamond interchange with Moccasin Wallow Road, I-75 quickly meets Exit 228 with Interstate 275 north. I-275 travels west to Rubonia, Terra Cela, and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge ahead of St. Petersburg. Photo taken 03/01/13.|
|Exit 228 veers away from Interstate 75 south. Interstate 275 meets U.S. 41 just one mile to the west. U.S. 19 north merges onto Interstate 275 north at Terra Cela ahead of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge toll plaza. The two overlap northward to 54th Avenue South (Exit 17) in south St. Pete. Photo taken 03/01/13.|
|Additional photos covering the Interstate 75 south approach to I-275 north posted at Interstate 75 South – Manatee County on AARoads.|
|Perspective from Interstate 75 north|
|Interstate 75 north expands to four lanes on the one mile approach to Exit 228 with Interstate 275 west. I-275 joins Southwest Florida with St. Petersburg and Clearwater while I-75 continues north more directly to Tampa. Photo taken 09/28/13.|
|Overheads attached to the 69th Street SE overpass directs motorists to the two-lane flyover for Interstate 275 north. I-275 leads west to Terra Ceia and the toll plaza for the Sunshine Skyway. Photo taken 01/16/14.|
|Historic Perspective from Interstate 75 north|
|The original signage for the split of Interstate 275 from Interstate 75 north from the 1980s. Photo taken by Gene Janczynskyi (10/25/00).|
|More photos covering the south end of I-275 from I-75 north at Interstate 75 North – Manatee County on AARoads.|
- Florida’s Interstates: A Half-Century of Progress
http://www.fl-interstate.com(official Florida Department of Transportation site). http://mytbi.com/projects/projectinfo.asp?projectID=172&RoadID=1.
Page updated March 20, 2018.