Exit 45A Downtown Tampa:
Jefferson Street, Ashley Drive, Tampa Street and Doyle Carlton Drive

For years this all too familiar interchange complex is synonymous with its rightfully earned nickname: Traffic congestion and accidents. For those living in the Tampa Bay region who have to travel through this interchange as part of the commute to and from work, Malfunction Junction is frequently mentioned in one way or another during the morning and afternoon traffic reports.

When the Interstate 275/Interstate 4 interchange was constructed in 1964 it completed a missing link in between sections of Interstate 4 constructed in 1962 and 1963, leaving a “stub” end for the northbound highway which would eventually become Interstate 75. In 1966 and 1967 Interstate 75 was built from Bearss Avenue (Exit 53) southward to the stub end I believe existed south of Floribraska Avenue (Exit 46A). Once Interstate 75 was built and routed across the Howard Frankland Bridge into St. Petersburg Interstate 4 had its western terminus truncated to where it is today. In the early to mid-1970’s Interstate 75 was routed on a new alignment (which would not open well into the mid-1980's) and the existing Interstate 75 became Interstate 275. Over the years the average traffic volume on Interstate 275 at Malfunction Junction has increased so much that it was decided to make major improvements to this all too familiar interchange. As such, Malfunction Junction has received a major makeover which includes new flyover ramps and badly needed widening as well as new and better signage, which was completed in December 2006.

Exit 45A provides access to both the eastern and western half of downtown Tampa. The eastern half of downtown Tampa is served by Jefferson Street while the western half of downtown Tampa is served by Ashley Drive, Tampa Street as well as Doyle Carlton Drive. The southbound exit to Ashley Drive and Tampa Street used to be part of Exit 44 when it was originally constructed. When major improvements were made in 2006 the southbound access to Ashley Drive and Tampa Street became a part of Exit 45A along with Jefferson Street; at the same time a new ramp was built enabling traffic to exit at Doyle Carlton Drive in addition to Ashley Drive and Tampa Street. Moreover, when Exit 45A was built originally there was access to Kay Street but that access was removed as a part of the improvements made in 2006.

There are two entrance ramps onto northbound Interstate 275 at Exit 45A from Jefferson Street: One ramp enters northbound Interstate 275 in the left lane enabling motorists to remain on Interstate 275, while the other ramp enters Interstate 275 in the right lane providing access to eastbound Interstate 4. The two entrance ramps help cut down on the weaving movements once on Interstate 275 northbound from Jefferson Street, as it is a short distance between Jefferson Street and Interstate 4.

Interstate 275 Southbound at Exit 45A

Perspective of Interstate 275 at Exit 45A