To help ease the flow of holiday traffic, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has added a temporary third lane on eastbound State Road 56, from east of Grand Cypress Drive to east of Interstate 75.
The extra lane is expected to remain open until after the New Year’s holiday period, according to a news release from Kris Carson, of the District Seven office of FDOT.
Also, motorists who are headed to southbound I-75 from eastbound State Road 56 need to know that the entrance ramp entry point to I-75 has been moved to the west, meaning motorists will need to exit State Road 56 sooner to get onto the interstate.
The additional lane and the relocation of the exit are just the latest changes near the I-75/State Road 56 interchange — one Pasco County’s most traveled areas.
The interchange happens to be near Cypress Creek Town Center, which includes Tampa Premium Outlets, west of I-75 on State Road 56; and The Shops at Wiregrass, east of the interchange on State Road 56.
There also are myriad shops and restaurants in the general area — making the State Road 54/State Road 56 corridor a magnet for motorists.
Add to the mix a major construction project that’s now underway to create a new configuration at the interchange — and the ingredients are there to create traffic migraines.
The state road department previously issued a playbook, of sorts, aimed at helping drivers avoid the frustrations of holiday traffic jams.
Their first word of advice is to avoid the area, when possible.
Instead of getting off at the State Road 56/I-75 exit, FDOT officials advise southbound motorists to get off at the Exit 279, which is the County Road 54 (Wesley Chapel Boulevard)/I-75 exit. Those motorists can head west from that interchange and then take Wesley Chapel Boulevard south to State Road 56, to access the area on State Road 56, west of I-75.
Or, drivers can head east over to Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and then south to State Road 56, to access the areas east of I-75.
Here are some additional suggestions:
- Use other roads to travel around the highly congested area of SR 56 at I-75, and also near shopping malls, especially if your destination is not actually on the State Road 54/State Road 56 corridor.
- Seek out alternate access points to shopping and dining destinations. (Remember many major shopping areas have multiple access points to and from parking areas.)
- Shop or commute during off-peak hours, when possible. Congestion at SR 56/I-75 is at its worst between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., on weekdays, so try to avoid that area during those hours.
Published December 01, 2021