Interstate 275's Southern Terminus at Parrish
WEBMASTER'S NOTE: While Parrish and Ellenton are close to each other on US 301 in Manatee County, and Ellenton is located to the south of Interstate 275's southern terminus on US 301 at Interstate 75's Exit 224, I am using Parrish as the southern terminus of Interstate 275 at Interstate 75 for the sake of clarity because the exit to Parrish is just to the north of the Interstate 275 southern terminus at Exit 229 (Moccasin Wallow Road) and its proximity to the Florida Railroad Museum in Parrish five miles east of Interstate 275's southern terminus.
The southernmost segment of Interstate 275 is the segment from US 41 to Interstate 75, which was built in 1980 as a spur of the segment of Interstate 75 from US 301 (Exit 224) in Ellenton to Big Bend Road (Exit 246) in southern Hillsborough County. When this segment of Interstate 75 was opened to traffic in 1982 signage at Exit 228 - the exit for the southern terminus of Interstate 275 on Interstate 75 - read To US 41 instead of Interstate 275 North to St. Petersburg as Interstate 275 in Manatee wasn't quite built yet and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge - designated as Interstate 275 on paper but not officially posted - was on the 1954 northbound span as a two lane bridge due to the 1971 southbound span being damaged when it was hit by the Summit Venture on 9 May 1980. Only after the highway was built further west of US 41 in 1984 was the signage on Interstate 75 at Exit 228 changed from To US 41 to Interstate 275 North.
Interstate 275's southern terminus at Interstate 75's Exit 228 is a full service flyover interchange, compared to Interstate 275's northern terminus at Interstate 75's Exit 274 in Wesley Chapel that has a partial flyover interchange. Like its Wesley Chapel counterpart, there is an interchange immediately to the north of the termini of Interstate 275 and for the southern terminus of Interstate 275 there is an interchange on Interstate 75 one mile north at Exit 229, Manatee County Road 683 to Parrish (also known as Moccasin Wallow Road). Of course Moccasin Wallow Road leads to Parrish and the Florida Railroad Museum on US 301.
At the southern terminus of Interstate 275, the Interstate 75 mainline was originally constructed of concrete pavement from south of Exit 229 all the way to FL 681 (Exit 200) in Venice. Unfortunately, the concrete could not stand up to the heavy duty use of Interstate 75, being a major travel route between Tampa and Miami via Naples, and the Florida DOT replaced all the concrete pavement sections with heavy duty asphalt pavement which serves Interstate 75's needs. However, Interstate 275 was originally built as a four lane asphalt pavement highway which it still is today.
With the Florida Railroad Museum being one of two official state railroad museums of Florida (the other official state railroad museum is the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in Miami, located on the grounds of Zoo Miami west of the Florida Turnpike), there is an item that is amiss from all the signage leading to Exit 229 from both Interstates 275 and 75: Signage leading to the Florida Railroad Museum, and it is signage utilizing white FHWA highway gothic lettering on a brown background, the background prescribed in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for places of cultural or recreational interest including museums, not the signage for for-profit businesses located close to the highway (and these businesses pay to have their logos placed on these signs!). It is said that if you build it the people will come, but what good does it do if you don't have any signage to lead people to a cultural or recreational point of interest such as a museum? At least the Florida DOT can do our official state railroad museums a service and put signage to both the Florida Railroad Museum from Interstate 75 in Parrish and the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in Miami from the Florida Turnpike.
Motorists headed to Tampa International Airport from Sarasota or Bradenton will find that Interstate 275 north to St. Petersburg via the Sunshine Skyway is the most direct route. Should there be any situation in which the Sunshine Skyway is closed use Interstate 75 north to Interstate 4 in Tampa, then west on Interstate 4 to Interstate 275. South on Interstate 275 to Exit 39 and the airport.