For motorists, there will be no getting around the inconvienence, but get around they must.
The Dale Mabry Highway exit off southbound Interstate 275 has closed, effective this morning at 4:22 a.m., according to the Florida Department of Transportation. It is expected to be closed for four months as an ongoing four-year highway reconstruction project continues.
Vehicles will be detoured to Himes Avenue, which has a temporary exit from the interstate’s left lane.
So plan ahead of time to find the best alternate route, but expect backups until motorists get used to the changes.
Southbound drivers who normally use the Dale Mabry exit will be directed to Himes (Exit 41C), which precedes Dale Mabry. Drivers can turn left (south) on Himes, then right (west) on Cypress Street to reach Dale Mabry.
The temporary Himes ramp has been in use since December, so it’s not new for many motorists.
“However, we do realize that because of the Dale Mabry exit closure, many may be using Himes for the first time,” McShaffrey said.
To help, overhead message signs on I-275 and portable message signs at the Himes exit “have been and will continue to emphasize that the Himes exit is an exit from the left lane,” he said. In addition, new metal signs along I-275 will warn motorists of the change.
“The combination of these signs with electronic messages should provide more than ample messages to drivers,” McShaffrey said.
FDOT concluded that summer was the best time to do what must be done to move along the rebuilding of 4.2 miles of I-275, stretching from downtown to the Howard Frankland Bridge.
Closing the Dale Mabry ramp lets crews rebuild the exit and build an exit for Cypress Street, FDOT said. The closing also means fewer interruptions, allowing the new exits to reopen sooner — likely September.
The ongoing roadwork has created a variety of detours and rerouts since construction began in July 2012.
According to FDOT, when the I-275 work is done in 2016, there will be four lanes in each direction, a flatter road to improve sight distance and decrease the chance of crashes, improved interchanges and a wide median to allow for future improvements.