Signed with a lone pentagon, County Road 585A overlays N 40th Street / McKinley Drive 1.50 miles north from SR 580 (Busch Boulevard) to SR 582 (Fowler Avenue). The four lane boulevard connects with the main entrances for both the Busch Gardens and Adventure Island theme parks. Further north, CR 585A runs between Tampa Industrial Park and District 7 headquarters for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The north end ties into the intersection with Spectrum Boulevard into the University of South Florida (USF).
Work on the $6.4 million project widening Malcolm McKinley Drive between SR 580 (Busch Boulevard) and SR 582 (Fowler Avenue) commenced in December 2003.1 The 10 month phase was one of five included in the overall $80 million2 expansion of 40th Street from U.S. 41/92 (Hillsborough Avenue) 4.2 miles north to Fowler Avenue. Initial discussion for widening 40th Street from two to four lanes originated in the 1960s.1
Construction along McKinley Drive at Busch Gardens included building two tunnels below the four lane boulevard. Dug 18 feet below ground level, the tunnels allow trams shuttling visitors from the main parking area of Busch Gardens to the theme park's entrance unimpeded passage across McKinley Drive, which passes three feet above the tops of the concrete tunnels. The tunnels eliminated a traffic light along McKinley Drive. The parking lot entrance for Busch Gardens was relocated northward, further away from Busch Gardens, also reducing congestion along State Road 580.2
Work progressed to March 2004, when the city of Tampa closed a portion of McKinley Drive from the signalized entrance to Busch Gardens to Bougainvillea Avenue.3 The closure extended to November 2004, when the tunnels to Busch Gardens were completed.> Overall work on the expansion project wrapped up two months ahead of schedule by the end of December 2004.2
Busch Gardens built the ramps leading to the tunnel system.2 The theme park also renovated its parking lot and main entrance with new lighting, wrought-iron fencing and new landscaping.4 The second phase of the 40th Street widening project was awarded by Tampa City Council on November 18, 2004. Costing $1.98 million and extending to just south of Busch Boulevard, the project completed reconstruction of McKinley Drive.2.
Riders can be seen experiencing the terror of Montu roller coaster on the Busch Gardens main parking exit onto McKinley Drive (CR 585A).
- "40th Street Widening Set To Begin Soon." Tampa Tribune, The (FL), October 18, 2003.
- "Busch Gardens Tunnels Will Make Visits Safer - Road-Widening Project Top Priority for Mayor." Tampa Tribune, The (FL), March 9, 2004.
- "Across the Region Hillsborough." Tampa Tribune, The (FL), March 9, 2004.
- "40th Street Work Will Accelerate." Tampa Tribune, The (FL), September 25, 2003.
06/08/09 by AARoads
Page Updated 11-20-2019.