As a result of harsh reaction over a previous Howard Franklin Bridge design proposal, which did not call for an increase in the number of lanes, FDOT has unveiled a new plan which calls for two bridges with a total of 10 lanes, two of which are to be toll express lanes. The new bridge is designed and will be constructed in a manner that will support future mass transit. Construction is expected to begin in 2019. The improvements to Howard Franklin Bridge is part of the larger Tampa Bay Express project (TBX). Other portions of the overall TBX project have been delayed and are under further review.
Gaylord Merlin represents several owners whose properties will be needed for the TBX project.