Everyone in Tampa Bay dreads the traffic that comes along with the Interstate 275 interchanges. If you’ve been anywhere near 4th Street in St. Petersburg, you know construction has been ongoing for the last two years and car accidents are a frequent occurrence. We’re excited to announce, the 4th Street Bridge is FINALLY open. 

Starting in January 2022 this important access point to Interstate 275 was closed for this major renovation project, and is part of the larger Gateway Expressway project. We’re hoping this important work will mean we see fewer car accidents in Tampa Bay.

Why is the 4th Street Bridge such a big deal?

The 4th Street Bridge serves as an important connection from Interstate 275 to 4th Street. It will offer drivers a new option when driving into Pinellas County. This southbound exit ramp should also help with some of the traffic drivers experience on 9th Street North during the two-year construction project.

As part of the larger scale Gateway Expressway project, the Florida Departmetn of Transportation (FDOT) is excited to have another important piece of the puzzle in place.

What is the Gateway Expressway project?

The Gateway Expressway project is a long-term development plan to improve traffic in and around Tampa Bay. Started in August of 2017, the plan provides for a series of tolled express lanes, raised expressways, and more. Some key changes included in this plan are:

  • a new 4-lane tolled expressway from US 19 to I-275
  • a new 4-lane tolled expressway from Bayside Bridge to I-275
  • widening Interstate 275 to provide several tolled express lanes
  • repaving and repairing several major roads in and around Clearwater, the PIE airport terminal, and more
  • rebuilding Roosevelt Boulevard from Bayside Bridge

Many of these projects are nearing completion. According to the FDOT’s plans, the Gateway Expressway project should be finished this May, 2024.

We’re hopeful that these changes will not only aid in traffic management, but will also reduce car accidents (and related injuries or fatalities) in the months and years ahead.

Do express lanes and expressways prevent car accidents?

While results vary in many studies, traffic experts here in Florida say yes, accidents are less likely with express lanes and expressways.

According to the FDOT, Orlando’s addition of express lanes on Interstate 4 made a huge difference in both congestion and danger on the highway. The express lanes, primarily located around the Universal Orlando area, have been open two years, and have led to some startling changes in statistics. These include:

  • a 48% drop in vehicle collisions
  • a 63% drop reduction in lane-blocking incidents

Cindi Lane, the FDOT District 5 public information director said:

“Lower congestion since the introduction of I-4 Express means that vehicles have more space to operate more safely, and quicker clearance times reduce the risk of secondary crashes.”

Local drivers have reported easier commutes, lower travel times, and less stress on the road.


Less traffic means fewer car accidents!

While express lanes and expressways don’t get rid of traffic, they certainly disperse it differently. As mentioned by Cindi Lane above, when cars can spread out more, they’re less likely to collide with others on the road. This reduces both primary and secondary collisions.

A few obvious benefits to these new express travel options include:

Less tailgating.

Because vehicles have more room to spread out, and traffic continues to move more freely, drivers are less likely to tailgate and drive on the bumper of another. Not only does this give drivers longer reaction times and reduce rear-end collisions, but it also aids in preventing vehicle pileups.

Less road rage.

Let’s admit it: when you get stressed by being late to work, losing out on dinner with your family, or simply missing the big game, traffic can be incredibly frustrating. These intense emotions can be further triggered by drivers making rash decisions around you, hunger, thirst, and other discomforts that come from being stuck on the road for hours on end. It can be tempting to lash out by cutting off other drivers, speeding to get ahead, or making other unwise decisions behind the wheel based on emotion only. Road rage is a very real concern in heavy congestion, and these express lanes will (hopefully) lessen confrontations among angry drivers.

Fewer speeding drivers.

Speeding is a huge issue throughout Central Florida. Because of the heavy traffic, many drivers attempt to get ahead by pushing boundaries and going well over the posted speed limits. With the addition of express lanes and expressways, vehicles don’t have to speed to get ahead because traffic keeps up a steady pace.

Brooks Law Group wants fewer accidents on our local roads…

but we know that collisions can, and do, happen. When they do, injuries are often a consequence, and victims are left struggling to manage their recovery while seeking out the justice they deserve and the help they need to move forward. Brooks Law Group fights for these individuals, providing advocacy for victims and families, and going to bat against insurance companies and at-fault parties. We are here for you, with services that are FREE unless we win your case. No consultation fees, and a simple contingency fee if you choose us to take on your case.

If you’ve been injured in an accident on roads in or around the Tampa Bay area, call Brooks Law Group. You can always Look to Brooks.