Every city complains about their traffic. But, here in Riverview and the surrounding Tampa areas of Hillsborough County, our complaints are valid. The Tampa area ranks as having the 11th highest traffic congestion in the country. And, that is just in our area. That does not factor in what a mess it can be if you try to head east to Orlando, take a trip north or west to Clearwater or St. Petersburg, or drive down south anywhere along the coast. We have traffic everywhere!
There are a lot of factors that go into why our area is such a high traffic area, and why there is such a high rate of accidents. Much of it is due to the growth in population outpacing local planners’ ability to create a better traffic grid. For much of the past 25 years, the Tampa area has been one of the fastest-growing in the country. In fact, this year, Tampa is the 9th fastest growing city in the USA. Besides growth, the unique geography of our area, poor lighting, the many bridges, the heavily foot-trafficked areas, and other factors make our area a traffic nightmare.
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
While we’ve seen improvements to the highways in the area, or at least we see construction crews working on them all the time, many of our roads and intersections remain crowded and accident-prone. In an interview with WFLA, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office’ cited Riverview with the most accidents and traffic.
If you live or work in Riverview, or the South Shore areas of Apollo Beach and Gibsonton, then you also know about the horrible traffic. And, this is especially true of Big Bend Road from Highway 41 all the way to 301 and at the I-75 interchange. The traffic and accidents in this area of Hillsborough County have forged outrage by area residents. It has also spawned the start of a massive multi-million dollar upgrade to the infrastructure over the next several years.
As bad as the traffic and accidents in the Riverview areas mentioned above are, the data from the Sheriff’s Office shows other areas that are more problematic. Let’s look at the data and see which roads and intersections are the worst in the county:
5 Most Dangerous Roads And Intersections
There are a lot of well-known dangerous roads with a high level of accidents in our local area and in the greater Tampa area. We looked closely at a study by Vision Zero Coalition in 2017 and updated it last year. Their mission was to study traffic, accidents, and roads to create a safer Hillsborough County. Note that the list is based on reported crashes and accidents, which is likely significantly lower than the full number of crashes or accidents.
5: Dale Mabry Highway
This is the stretch of road from Hillsborough Avenue to Bearss Avenue. It has a speed limit of 45mph, a limit that is rarely followed. It averages over 100 accidents a year, and at the time of the study averaged 18.8 crashes per roadway mile. This area was particularly noted as having a high amount of bicycle-related accidents
4: Fletcher Avenue
Fletcher Avenue goes from Armenia Avenue to 50th Street. The speed limit varies from 35 to 55mph. The varying limit contributes to accidents. It averages just under 100 accidents per year, and 19.6 crashes per roadway mile. The reports on this area pointed towards pedestrian behavior, along with the varying speeds, and poorly marked crosswalks leading to accidents.
3: Hillsborough Avenue
This is the stretch from Longboat Boulevard to Florida Avenue. It has speed limits of 45mp and 55mph. It has over 175 crashes per year and an average of 19.8 crashes per roadway mile. This area was noted as having a high percentage of crashes at night. The study showed better lighting and better-painted roadways could reduce accidents, and that has been improved in areas since the study.
2. Gibsonton Drive / Boyette Road
Going from Interstate 75 to Balm Riverview Road, this is a smaller section of roadway than numbers 3-5, but has over 21 crashes per roadway mile. With a 45mph speed limit, it averages around 50 crashes per year. This section was pointed out to have a high level of speeding and aggressive driving. This section also has the most motorcycle-related accidents than the others on this list.
While the other areas on this list have seen a decline in crashes recently, this area continues to be in the top three in most crashes reported each month on the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
1. Brandon Boulevard
This is the stretch of road from Falkenburg Road to Dover Road. The speed limit varies from 45mph to 50mph. This road has almost 200 crashes per year and a crash per square mile rate of 25. This was, by far, statistically the most dangerous stretch of road in Hillsborough County.
This is also one of the most heavily trafficked areas. It has many shopping plaza entrances, along with entrances to homes and side roads that leads to accidents. While the need for better roadway management and planning seems to be the main culprit for many of the high traffic areas, this one seems to be more on the drivers. Drivers need to stay focused when driving down, or turning onto, Brandon Boulevard.
5 Worst Traffic Areas in Hillsborough County
Traffic is inevitable in many areas of our county. The Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization took a look at those areas. They dove into the data and compared the number of cars a road can withstand to the average number of actual cars that drive on the roads. They created a scoring system in which 0 would mean the number of cars a road is planned for equals the number of actual cars driving down the road. Any negative number means the road has fewer cars than planned for. Any number over 0 means there are too many cars for that road. Anything over 1.5 means the road is entirely unreliable.
It could come as no surprise to you that around 20 areas in the county scored a positive number, with 6 scoring above a 1.5, meaning that any google maps or GPS estimate is entirely unreliable for those areas. Here are the worst 5, according to the actual date:
5. Van Dyke Road: From Simmons Road to Dale Mabry Highway
This is a stretch of road under 1.5 miles, going by The Austin House by Sweetwater Manor and ending at Publix at Northgate Square. This short stretch should take two minutes. But, this section of the road will usually take you over 4 minutes. And, if you’re looking to make a left at the intersection, you’ll often add another 2-3 minutes.
4. Westshore Boulevard: From Swann Avenue to Gandy Boulevard
This is just over a 3-mile stretch. But, if you travel this area on a weekend afternoon or late at night, it will take you just over 5 minutes. And, if you travel this stretch during the morning rush hour, you’ll often be looking at over 15 minutes to travel the 3 miles.
3. I-275: From Armenia Avenue to Ashley Drive
This is a just over a mile stretch crossing over the Hillsborough River and is the worst bottleneck for traffic on I-75. And, unfortunately for many of our local customers in the Riverview and surrounding area that head north or west on their daily commute, I-275 is unavoidable. This stretch should take 1 minute. But, this section of I-272 averages over 5 minutes during rush hour and routinely has backups that can make this section take over 10 minutes.
2. Boyette Road: From Bell Shoals Road to Balm Riverview Road
This is a stretch of road just under 3 miles long that takes you through the McMullen Road intersection. Google will tell you that it will take 4-5 minutes. But, this stretch will average 14-16 minutes during rush hour and can still take over 10 minutes during non-rush hour times.
1. County Line Road: From U.S. 41 to Dale Mabry
This stretch is less than a mile long. Avoid this area at all costs. It ranked at a 1.76 score on the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organizations study, over 15% worse than #2 on this list, and 30% worse than #5. This is a stretch that should take a minute, but will regularly take 5 minutes. 5 minutes might not seem like a lot, but taking more than 4 times longer than it should has this section as the worst in our county.
So, the above list is what the data says. But, what do you say? What do you think is the worst traffic area in the county? Let us know in the comments below.
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