Updated Apr 24, 2024 - Transit

Gateway Expressway connecting I-275, U.S. 19 set to open Friday

A map of the Gateway area of Pinellas County, with a blue line over the route of the new toll roads that make up the Gateway Expressway.

A map of the Gateway Expressway roadway project. Photo: Florida Department of Transportation

The long-awaited Gateway Expressway is set to open to drivers on Friday, the Florida Department of Transportation announced.

Why it matters: Two new toll roads will better connect Interstate 275, U.S. 19 and the Bayside Bridge at a common choke point for drivers traveling between Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

  • The Gateway area is also home to St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport and several Fortune 500 companies.

State of play: State transportation officials announced on Tuesday that state roads 690 and 686A and new I-275 express lanes will open to the public on Friday afternoon, with a tour for members of the media scheduled for Wednesday morning.

  • Construction on the project began six years ago and has faced numerous delays along the way, including supply and labor shortages and hurricanes.

What they're saying: "It really was about five projects in one," said FDOT engineer Greg Deese, per Bay News 9, "so a project that complex inevitably runs into delays."

The big picture: The $595-million project includes the new toll roads as well as express toll lanes, one in each direction, from south of Gandy Boulevard to Fourth Street North.

Zoom in: State Road 690 will be a four-lane elevated road linking I-275 to U.S. 19.

  • State Road 686A, also four lanes, will tie together the interstate and the Bayside Bridge, which heads north into east Clearwater and Safety Harbor.
  • It will continue south through the old site of the Sunshine Speedway until it merges with SR 690.

How it works: The roads will be toll free for the first seven days after opening, according to Bay News 9.

  • After that, tolls will cost 86 cents on SR 690, 28 cents on SR 686A and 50 cents on each of the I-275 express lanes.
A map depicts the different toll prices on different roadways set to open Friday.
Photo: Florida Department of Transportation
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