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Interstate 275 Florida

 

Routing

Interstate 275 in Florida serves the western portions of the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, including downtown Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Bradenton. It starts at Interstate 75 in Bradenton and extends through St. Petersburg and Tampa, connected by two major bridges (Sunshine Skyway and Howard Frankland Bridge) before reuniting with its parent at Lutz. Interstate 75, by contrast, stays away from both cities and acts as a bypass to the Southwest Florida and the Gulf Coast.

Interstate 275 functions similar in nature to that of Interstate 229 in St. Joseph, Missouri, and Interstate 675 in Saginaw, Michigan, by serving the downtown areas while the main route bypasses the city. Interstate 275 serves downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg while the parent Interstate 75 stays, for the most part, to the east of the heavily urbanized areas (but suburban growth has occurred along Interstate 75).

History

The longest three-digit Interstate highway in Florida, Interstate 275 was originally slated to carry Interstate 75 through the metropolitan area, and current Interstate 75 was originally planned to be designated Interstate 75E. However, a number of years after the construction of what is now Interstate 275, the metropolitan portion of Interstate 75 was redesignated as Interstate 275, and Interstate 75E was redesignated as Interstate 75.

Interstate 275 crosses the cable stayed Sunshine Skyway Bridge over the mouth of Tampa Bay. In 1980, one span of the original Sunshine Skyway Bridge (a steel truss bridge) collapsed when the Summit Venture freighter collided with a bridge support. Ultimately, the old bridge was removed, and the new cable stay bridge was opened thereafter.

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 Interstate 275 when the ship Summit Venture collided with the original Sunshine Skyway. Several 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 southern Interstate 75/Interstate 275 interchange and the section of Interstate 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. At that point, Interstate 275 was complete.

Highway Guides

Southern Terminus - Interstate 75 - near Palmetto, Florida
Perspective from Interstate 275 south
Graphical overhead for Interstate 75, one mile from the southern terminus. The last mainline interchange of Interstate 275 (Exit 2) connects with U.S. 41. Photo taken by Andy Field and Gene Janczynskyi (12/00).
New signage that replaces the one-mile guide panel Pictured above. Naturally, the mainline of Interstate 275 defaults onto Interstate 75 southbound. The first exit southward is Exit 224 with U.S. 301. Photo taken by Gary S. Peterson (01/03).
One half mile version of the Interstate 75 graphical overhead on Interstate 275 southbound. Traffic returning northward to Tampa and Brandon utilizes a high flyover that departs from the right-hand lane. Photo taken by Andy Field and Gene Janczynskyi (12/00).
Replacement of the one-half mile guide signage for Interstate 75 Pictured in the above photograph. Photo taken by Justin Cozart (12/02).
The final set of Interstate 75 guide signs on Interstate 275 southbound. The interchange between the two highs is a tri-level stack. Photo taken by Andy Field and Gene Janczynskyi (12/00).
Another perspective of the Interstate 75 guide panels Pictured in the above photograph. An overhead sign assembly is posted on the flyover to Interstate 75 northbound. This panel indicates that Exit 229 to Manatee County 683/Gillette is just one mile to the north. Photo taken by Gene Janczynskyi (10/00).
All of the Interstate 75 guide panels on Interstate 275 are replaced by January of 2003 with fully reflectorized signs. This photo looks at the replacements for those Pictured in the above two photographs. Photo taken by Gary S. Peterson (01/03).
Proceeding to Interstate 75 southbound from Interstate 275. The flyover above is the northbound return ramp to Interstate 75. Unlike other Florida Interstates, there is no "countdown" approach to signing the end of Interstate 275; in fact, there are no end signs anywhere along southbound Interstate 275. Photo taken by Andy Field and Gene Janczynskyi (12/00).
Merging onto Interstate 75 southbound from Interstate 275 southbound. The city of Sarasota is 18 miles to the south while Fort Myers will be reached in 88 miles. Photo taken by Andy Field and Gene Janczynskyi (12/00).
Perspective from Interstate 75 south
Exits to Manatee County 6 (Moccasin Wallow Road) and Interstate 275 north are combined on one sign along Interstate 75 southbound near Gillette. Moccasin Wallow Road travels east from U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) to junction U.S. 301 near Parrish. Interstate 275 travels west from Interstate 75 to Rubonia, Terra Cela, and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge ahead of the Hillsborough County line. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman & Justin Cozart (03/12/06).
Southbound at the Exit 229 diamond interchange with Manatee County 6 (Moccasin Wallow Road). Manatee County 6 ends at junction U.S. 41 one mile north of the Interstate 275 Exit 1 diamond interchange with the Tamiami Trail. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman & Justin Cozart (03/12/06).
Interstate 75 passes over Manatee County 6 one mile north of the tri-level stack interchange with Interstate 275 north (Exit 228). Interstate 275 travels 17 miles northwest to South St. Petersburg near Pinellas Point. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman & Justin Cozart (03/12/06).
Motorists joining Interstate 75 south from Exit 228 forms the exit-only lane for Interstate 275 north. Interstate 275 meets U.S. 41 ahead of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge approach. U.S. 19 north merges onto Interstate 275 north at Terra Cela, with both traveling the tolled cable-stayed bridge to Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman & Justin Cozart (03/12/06).
Interstate 75 continues south to Sarasota, Fort Myers, Naples, and Miami; Interstate 275 travels northwest to St. Petersburg, Lealman, and Pinellas Park. Interstate 275 & U.S. 19 overlap along the Sunshine Skyway Bridge between Exits 5 and 17. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman & Justin Cozart (03/12/06).
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstate 75 south
Interstate 595 209 miles at Davie, FL
-- --
-- --
Perspective from Interstate 75 north
The first appearance of the junction with Interstate 275 Exit 228/Former Exit 44) on northbound Interstate 75 is this mileage sign, which is located immediately after the U.S. 301 interchange (Exit 224). Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Justin Cozart (03/26/06).
New reflectorized signage is in place two miles south of the northbound beginning of Interstate 275. This graphical overhead features a new bubble shield for Interstate 275 as well as the new mileage Exit 228. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Justin Cozart (03/26/06).
Use Exit 228, Junction Interstate 275 north, to Port Manatee and the Sunshine Skyway to St. Petersburg. Interstate 275 merges with U.S. 19 to make the journey across the mouth of Tampa Bay. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Justin Cozart (03/26/06).
Interstate 75 northbound expands to four lanes in anticipation of the split of Interstate 275 and Interstate 75 at Exit 228 (old Exit 44). This photograph shows the one mile sign bridge. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Justin Cozart (03/26/06).
Northbound Interstate 75 splits with northbound Interstate 275 at Exit 228. If you take Interstate 275 north, there are two interchanges before the highway reaches the Sunshine Skyway toll plaza (after merging with U.S. 19). Photos taken by Alex Nitzman and Justin Cozart (03/26/06) and Andy Field and Gene Janczynskyi (12/00).
Historically, these two pictures show the same sign assembly as the last photobox. The 1998 photo shows the original signage for the split of Interstate 275 from Interstate 75 northbound from the 1980s. The travel advisory signage for the Sunshine Skyway Bridge had yet to be installed at the time of the 1998 photograph. At some point between 1998 and 2000, the travel advisory sign was installed. Photos taken by Mike Wiley (10/98) and Gene Janczynskyi (10/25/00).
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstate 75 north
Interstate 4 33 miles near Mango, FL
Interstate 275 46 miles near Palmetto, FL
Interstate 10 207 miles near Lake City, FL
Northern Terminus - Interstate 75 - near Lutz, Florida
Perspective from Interstate 275 north
Interstate 275 leaves the interchange with Bearss Avenue (Hillsborough County 582) and continues northward to its merge with Interstate 75. There are no interchanges between Exit 53 and the northern terminus, a distance of seven miles. Developers have petitioned the state to construct an interchange along this stretch for future development, but government officials denied their requests. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (05/28/05).
Interstate 275 consists of a four-lane freeway between Bearss Avenue and the merge with Interstate 75 north. A partial "Y" interchange facilitates the movements between the two freeways at the Hillsborough and Pasco County lines. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (05/28/05).
Northbound travelers utilize a sweeping on-ramp to Interstate 75 north ahead of its interchange with Florida 56 east of Land O' Lakes. An end sign resides at the merge. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman & Justin Cozart (05/29/06).
A look at the previous Interstate 275 end sign posted at the northbound merge onto Interstate 75. Interstate 75 continues 76 miles northward to Ocala and 113 miles to Gainesville. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (05/28/05).
Perspective from Interstate 75 south
Two miles north of the Interstate 75/275 split on Interstate 75 southbound. Interstate 75 originally followed Interstate 75 southbound into Tampa itself. Interstate 75 east of Interstate 275 briefly was touted as Interstate 75E. Photo taken by Gene Janczynskyi (10/25/00).
A second diagrammatical overhead for Exit 274 can be found at the Exit 275 interchange with Florida 56. This assembly is new and sees the addition of an Airport trailblazer. Photo taken by J.P. Nasiatka (06/30/03).
One mile south of the Florida 56 interchange near the Hillsborough/Pasco County line is the one-half mile guide sign of the Interstate 75/275 split. Four miles to the south, Interstate 75 travels to Exit 270, the only interchange within the Tampa city limits. Photo taken by J.P. Nasiatka (06/15/03).
Interstate 75 southbound at Exit 274/old Exit 57. Interstate 275 enters the city limits of Tampa in nine miles. Another 174 miles of Interstate 75 await southbound motorists before the freeway reaches the city of Naples. Photo taken by Gene Janczynskyi (10/25/00).
Updated guide signs at the Interstate 75/275 southbound split. Featured is the new Exit 274 designation for Interstate 275 south and an Airport trailblazer next to the control city of Tampa. Tampa International Airport is located to the west of Interstate 275 via Florida 60 at Exit 39B. Photo taken by J.P. Nasiatka (07/23/03).
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstate 75 south
Interstate 4 13 miles near Mango, FL
Interstate 275 46 miles near Palmetto, FL
Interstate 595 255 miles at Davie, FL

Sources:

  1. Florida's Interstates: A Half-Century of Progress (official Florida Department of Transportation site)

Page Updated July 30, 2006.

 
Mileage

State Florida
Mileage 60.64
Cities St. Petersburg, Gulfport, Pinellas Park, Tampa
Junctions Interstate 75, Interstate 175, Interstate 375, Interstate 4, Interstate 75
Source: October 31, 2002 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
I-275 Florida Annual Average Daily Traffic

State Location AADT Composite Year
Florida Gillette 30,000 2002
Florida Saint Petersburg 144,500 2002
Florida Tampa 201,500 2002
Source: Florida Traffic Information 2002 CD-Rom
Complete Interstate 275 AADT data.

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