Interstate 175 (South Bay Drive) constitutes the southern freeway spur connecting Interstate 275 with Tropicana Field and Downtown St. Petersburg. The second shortest Interstate in Florida, I-175 is only one-tenth of a mile longer that its northern counterpart Interstate 375 (North Bay Drive). The freeway doubles as Florida 594, which extends one block east of the freeway end to Florida 687 (3rd Street South) north.
South Bay Drive was constructed in tandem with North Bay Drive (I-375) in two phases between 1977 and 1980. Work began in 1977 on the final link, between 9th Street South (Martin Luther King Jr. Street) and 4th Street South.1 When Interstate 75 was relocated to the east Tampa bypass (in Hillsborough County) in the late 1970s, five miles of eligible Interstate mileage became available for use. Some of the unused mileage was applied to the South Bay Drive Downtown spur and proposed as Interstate 175. The freeway was complete and opened to traffic by April 23, 1980 at a cost of $5.5-million. However I-175 was not officially included in the Interstate System until November 1982.2
Western Terminus - Interstate 275 - St. Petersburg, Florida
Perspective from Interstate 175 west
Spanning above 16th Street South, Interstate 175 comes to silent end as it reaches the split for I-275 north and south. Two lanes leave for I-275 north to Tampa while two lanes merge onto I-275 south prior to 28th Street South and Bradenton (via U.S. 19). Photo taken 07/10/11.
Traffic bound for Interstate 275 south will merge onto the mainline from the left. 28th Street South will next meet I-275 at a half-diamond interchange in 0.75 miles. Photo taken 07/10/11.
Perspective from Interstate 275 south
Traveling along a viaduct over several city streets Interstate 275 south approaches the stack interchange with Interstate 175 east (Exit 22) in one-half mile. Photo taken 05/28/14.
Interstate 175 (South Bay Drive) represents a 1.44-mile freeway spur into Downtown St. Petersburg with access to Tropicana Field and Albert Whitted Airport. Photo taken 05/28/14.
I-275 south reaches the wye split with I-175 east. The freeway also doubles as South Bay Drive and Florida 594 its entire length but is not signed. Use the Martin Luther King Jr. & 8th Streets off-ramp to Tropicana Field. Otherwise, Interstate 275 curves westward toward south St. Petersburg and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge into Manatee County. Photo taken 05/28/14.
Perspective from Interstate 275 north
As Interstate 275 north passes over 28th Street South it comes to within three-quarters of a mile of Interstate 175 east to Downtown St. Petersburg. Its companion Interstate 375 will meet the freeway in 1.5 miles. Photo taken 07/06/13.
Exit 22 to I-175 east provides the best access to nearby Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays MLB franchise. Otherwise use Interstate 175 to reach Mahaffey Theater and the Dali Museum. Photo taken 07/06/13.
A two-lane ramp departs for Interstate 175 east at Exit 22. The lone I-175 entry within the Interstate system shoots east 1.44 miles to Florida 687 near Downtown St. Petersburg. Ramps join the freeway spur with MLK Jr., 8th, 6th & 4th Streets South. Photo taken 01/12/14.
Eastern Terminus - Florida 687 - St. Petersburg, Florida
Perspective from Interstate 175 east
Spanning 6th Street South, only 1,000 feet remain along Interstate 175 east before its merge onto 5th Avenue South. Photo taken 07/10/11.
Interstate 175 officially ends as the mainline merges onto 5th Avenue South ahead of its intersection with Florida 687 south (4th Street South). Though not signed, Florida 594 east continues through to Florida 687 north (3rd Street South). Photo taken 07/30/06.
Traffic emanating from I-175 onto 5th Avenue South immediately encounter 4th Street South. This intersection also represents the south end of Florida 687. Florida 594 continues east along 5th Avenue South one block to end at Florida 687 north and 3rd Street South. Photo taken 07/10/11.
Perspective from Northbound Florida 687 (3rd Street South)
Florida 687 (3rd Street South) north approaches the intersection with 4th Avenue South. To make the connection with Interstate 175 (South Bay Drive) west, follow 4th Avenue South one block west to Florida 687 (4th Street South) south, then follow 4th Street South to I-175 west. Photo taken 07/30/06.
Perspective from Southbound Florida 687 (4th Street South)
State Road 687 (4th Street South) reaches the entrance ramp to Interstate 175 west at Delmar Terrace South. Two lanes depart for the 1.44-mile connector freeway to nearby Interstate 275. SR 687 ends ahead at 5th Avenue South while 4th Street South continues into the Bartlett Park neighborhood. Photo taken 07/10/11.
"I-275 south feeder is open downtown." St. Petersburg Times, July 24, 1980.
American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Route Numbering Committee Meeting, November 19, 1982 (document).