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LeRoy Selmon Crosstown Expressway - Eastbound

Florida 618 Toll east
Toll Florida 618 begins with Exit 1 at its interchange with U.S. 92 (Gandy Boulevard) and Florida 573 (Dale Mabry Highway southbound to MacDill Air Force Base). From there, Toll Florida 618 follows the Leroy Selmon Crosstown Expressway northeast toward downtown and Ybor City. The first exit along eastbound is Exit 4, Willow Avenue and Newport Avenue, followed by Exits 6A-B, Downtown East/West. Situated just west of the Hillsborough River is the western main line toll plaza. Photo taken 10/28/06.
Entering the toll plaza on Florida 618 Toll eastbound. The left most lane is a SunPass-dedicated only lane, allowing account holders non-stop access through the plaza. Others must stop and pay at the attended booths. Photo taken 10/28/06.
Auxiliary guide sign touting the Exit 6A/B connections to Florida Avenue and Channelside Drive. Florida Avenue (Exit 6A) connects downtown with the very first Tampa suburbs of Tampa Heights and Seminole Heights. Florida Avenue was named to spite the Midwesterner who moved to Tampa early on and thus naming a road Nebraska Avenue. Channelside Drive (Exit 6B) serves the downtown entertainment district home to the St. Pete Times Forum and the Florida Aquarium. Photo taken 10/28/06.
Crossing the Hillsborough River, excellent views of the Tampa downtown skyline are afforded to the north. Photo taken 10/28/06.
Approaching the Exits 6A/B off-ramps into downtown Tampa. Note the use of the "Thru Traffic" pull-through sign Florida 618 Toll. Despite the use of arrows on this sign, this is actually the "next right" sign. Photo taken 10/28/06.
Signs pictured above replace those pictured here in 2003. The Downtown East ramp (Exit 6A) descends traffic onto Channelside Drive west ahead of Florida Avenue while Exit 6B provides access onto Channelside Drive east to the St. Pete Times Forum (home of the NHL Tampa Bay Lightning franchise). Photo taken 12/08/03.
Eastbound Florida 618 Toll (Crosstown Expressway) reaches Exits 6A-B, Downtown East and West. This exit connects to Channelside Drive; many attractions are located on the Garrison Channel in addition to the Forum and Florida Aquarium, including the Tampa Convention Center, the Channelside Shops, and Garrison Cruise Ship Terminal. Use Florida Avenue north to into the central business district otherwise. Photo taken 10/28/06.

The previous set of signs positioned at the Exit 6A/B off-ramp of Florida 618 Toll eastbound. Channelside Drive parallels the Crosstown Expressway from Bayshore Boulevard east to Kennedy and Adamo Drives, both of which are a part of Florida 60. Photo taken 12/08/03.
Continuing onward, Florida 618 Toll curves northeast to the Exit 9 partial-cloverleaf interchange with 22nd Street North to Ybor City. Ybor City, a subsection of Tampa, was once its own city with a market cornered on cigar making. Nowadays the area is an entertainment and historical district. Photo taken 12/08/03.
Exit 9 provides access to the Port of Tampa via 20th Street south. 20th Street leads to Maritime Boulevard and the sprawling port at Hooker's Point. The aforementioned National Historic District of YBor City lies to the north. Ybor City began in 1886 by cigar makers Vicente Martinez-Ybor and Ignacio Haya that moved their cigar operations from Key West to Tampa. YBor city produced more cigars than anywhere else for 50 years.1 Photo taken 10/28/06.
The 2006-completed elevated Express Lanes begin at the eastward turn from Channelside Drive (Florida 60) near Adamo Drive. They consist of a three-lane viaduct traveling down the middle of the Crosstown Expressway from downtown Tampa to Brandon. Like Interstate 64 in Norfolk-Virginia Beach, the Express Lanes open in a one-way fashion depending upon time of day. Photos taken 10/28/06.
Looking at early construction of the elevated express lanes of the Crosstown Expressway in 2003. The high-speed roadway is open only to SunPass account holders and features very few on and off points, thus providing commuter access between Tampa and Brandon (junction Interstate 75). Photo taken 12/08/03.
A before and after look of the elevated Crosstown Express lanes at the Exit 9 ramp departure to 22nd Street North from Florida 618 East. 22nd Street becomes Florida 585 north of its intersection with Florida 60 (Adamo Drive) nearby. Florida 585 follows the one-way street couplet of 21st and 22nd Street North into YBor City and 22nd Street only to its end at junction U.S. 41 & 92 (Hillsborough Avenue). Photos taken 10/28/06 & 12/08/03.
A connector ramp provides access to the Express Lanes from the Florida 618 Toll eastbound mainline after the Exit 9 interchange. Drivers otherwise can access the viaduct from downtown on-ramps. Photo taken 10/28/06.
Motorists joining the Express Lanes travel uninterrupted to Interstate 75 and the unincorporated suburb of Brandon. Variable Message Signs attached to the Express Lane guide signs indicate whether or not the road is open to eastbound travelers. Photo taken 10/28/06.
The Crosstown Expressway Express lanes lower to grade level for a short period between Exits 9 and 11. A slip ramp provides access onto them from eastbound. Exit 10 to 39th Street North was removed due to construction of the Express Lanes and relocation of the eastbound carriageway over the former off-ramp. Photo taken 10/28/06.
Next on the Florida 618 Toll eastbound mainline is the Exit 11 diamond interchange with U.S. 41 (50th Street North). U.S. 41 follows 50th Street southward from Melbourne Avenue in east Tampa to Palm River and points south outside of the city limits. Photo taken 10/28/06.
Traffic merges onto Florida 618 Eastbound from 39th Street North. 39th Street North links the Crosstown Expressway with U.S. 41 at 40th Street. Part of the roadway is signed as Florida 569. Photo taken 10/28/06.
Exit 11 departs Florida 618 Toll eastbound for U.S. 41 (50th Street North). U.S. 41 was vastly replaced by Interstate 75 as the through route for the Tampa metropolitan area. The highway does remain as a busy arterial through much of the city, including stretches along Hillsborough Avenue and Nebraska Avenue. Connections with U.S. 41 Business (Causeway Boulevard) serve the Port of Tampa. Photo taken 10/28/06.
Many of the old style Tampa Crosstown Expressway trailblazers remain in use on the Florida 618 Toll mainline and points in and around the area interchanges. Photo taken 10/28/06.
Florida 618 Toll eastbound draws near the main line east toll plaza between Exits 11 and 12. All passenger vehicles are levied a $1.25 car toll. Photo taken 10/28/06.
Exit 12 joins the Crosstown Expressway with 78th Street South just east of the main line toll plaza. 78th Street leads south from Florida 60 (Adamo Drive) to Florida 676 (Causeway Boulevard) and Riverview. Photo taken 10/28/06.
The elevated Express Lanes shift to the north and bypass the main line east toll plaza. Two conventional toll booth lanes were converted into eastbound SunPass only lanes at the facility. Photos taken 10/28/06.
Above, guide signs advise motorists of the slip ramp back onto the Florida 618 Toll mainline for Exits 13 (U.S. 301) and 15 (Interstate 75). The Express lanes otherwise default onto Brandon Parkway eastbound to Providence and Lumsden Road. Photo taken 10/28/06.
Florida 60 branches away from Florida 618 Toll (Crosstown Expressway) beyond the Exit 12 folded-diamond interchange with 78th Street South. Florida 60 constitutes the main east-west arterial through Brandon. Pictured here are before and after photos showing the Crosstown Expressway elevated Express Lanes near their crossing of the Palm River. Photos taken 12/08/03.
Eastbound at the Exit 12 loop ramp to 78th Street beyond the Palm River. 78th Street meets Florida 60 (Adamo Drive) just north of Florida 618 Toll and the community of Clairmel to the south. Photos taken 12/08/03.
Turning southward, the aforementioned slip ramp joins the Express roadway with the Florida 618 Toll eastbound mainline ahead of the final three interchanges. Photo taken 10/28/06.
A return ramp onto the Express Lanes allows commuters to bypass Exits 13, 14, and 15 and directly connect with Brandon Parkway east of Interstate 75. The mainline meanwhile draws closer to the U.S. 301 (Exit 13) diamond interchange as it passes over Palm River Road. U.S. 301 serves the South Tampa west of Interstate 75. Photo taken 10/28/06.
U.S. 301 crosses paths with the Crosstown Expressway between its intersections with Florida 676 (Causeway Boulevard) and Palm River Road. U.S. 301 meets Interstate 75 at Exit 254 and Florida 60 north of South Tampa. Photo taken 10/28/06.
References to the Florida 618 Toll eastbound mainline call it the Local Lanes as it meets U.S. 301, Falkenburg Road, and Interstate 75. Pictured here is the Exit 13 ramp departure to U.S. 301 at South Tampa. U.S. 301 parallels the Interstate 75 corridor from Sarasota northward to Gainesville. Photos taken 10/28/06 & 12/08/03.
Florida 618 Toll passes over U.S. 301 one half mile ahead of the Exit 14 half-diamond interchange with Falkenburg Road. Falkenburg Road travels north-south between U.S. 301 south of Causeway Boulevard (Florida 676) to U.S. 92 (Hillsborough Avenue). Photo taken 10/28/06.
The right-hand lane defaults to Exit 14 and Falkenburg Road as Florida 618 Toll approaches junction Interstate 75 (Exits 15A/B). Interstate 75 meets the Crosstown Expressway at a trumpet interchange north of U.S. 301 (Exit 254) and south of Florida 60 (Exit 257). The freeway bypasses the cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg, but finds itself well within the metropolitan area and its associated suburbs such as New Tampa, Temple Terrace, and Gibsonton. Photo taken 10/28/06.
Addition of the Express Lanes results in the expansion of the Exit 14 off-ramp from one to two lanes. Exit 14 was only completed in the early 2000s as a result of the extension of Falkenburg Road south from Florida 60 to Toll Florida 618. Falkenburg Road serves western reaches of Brandon in the shadow of Interstate 75. Photo taken 10/28/06 & 12/08/03.
Florida 618 Toll ends at the Exit 15 ramp partitioning for Interstate 75 south to Naples and north to Ocala. Interstate 75 overall joins the Tampa Bay area with Miami and Atlanta. Photo taken 10/28/06 & 12/08/03.

Sources:

  1. Ybor City: Cigars in Ybor.

Page Updated December 17, 2006.