Four years of construction remain on the Veterans Expressway.

However, when a third lane was opened recently on the south end from Gunn Highway to Hillsborough Avenue, the dramatic decrease in delays signaled a major shift in driver attitudes toward the work.

Increased flow on the mainline lanes wasn't the only result of Phase 1 of Veterans Expressway reconstruction. Ramp and frontage road changes along Eisenhower Boulevard have had the opposite effect.

Morning congestion in the southbound lanes from Hillsborough Avenue through Independence Parkway has added 20 minutes or more to the average commute time.

Tampa resident Sara Robbet drives Eisenhower Boulevard as part of her normal commute. 

"Instead of there now being two or three merge lanes, all traffic has to filter into one lane to enter on to I-275 and the Veterans," Robbet said. "This is causing a lot of traffic, especially at high volume times which tends to be between 7 and 10 in the morning."

Florida's Turnpike is responsible for the Veterans Expressway. The lane and ramp configuration drivers see today is essentially what will exist in the long term.

The first access ramp, south of Hillsborough Avenue, is a toll entrance. Single-lane ramps at Memorial Highway and Independence Parkway are non-toll entrances.

According to Florida Turnpike spokeswoman Christine Girardin, traffic will eventually become accustomed to the new access ramps as drivers discover the entry point that works best for their commute.

"There are two alternate entrance points to the Veteran's Expressway which may provide easier access to the Expressway," she said. "There is the Hillsborough Avenue entrance ramp, which is one mile north of Memorial Highway, or there is the Independence Parkway entrance, which is less than one-half mile to the south of Memorial Highway."

To learn more about this or any Turnpike Construction Project, visit their website.