State to send $131M for Pinellas connector - FOX 13 News

State to send $131M for Pinellas connector

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

Florida will allocate more than $100 million toward a project that could make driving around Pinellas County much easier, Gov. Rick Scott said Monday morning. 

Crews will move forward with what they're calling the Gateway Express project, creating a direct connection between I-275 and U.S. 19.

It will also link I-275 to the St. Pete-Clearwater Airport, and it's likely to ease up congestion in the area, meaning better drive times.

Scott said it will also create more jobs and inspire people to move to the area.

"With this $131 million commitment we will be able to speed up this critical project.  This will make roads safe, and allow families to spend more time together and less time sitting in traffic.  The Gateway Express Project will also allow economic activity to continue to grow and develop in Pinellas County, which will create jobs and opportunities for Florida families," Scott said in a statement.

The governor said the improvement in Florida's economy has allowed the state more money to spend. That's what allowed them to move this project up 10 to 20 years earlier than expected.

Officials say workers will construct the 118th Avenue and State Road 686 corridors as one single design project. The total cost will be around $338 million, and construction is scheduled to start in early 2017.

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