U.S. 19 is a major north-south U.S. route beginning at a grade-separated interchange with U.S. 41 in Memphis (near Palmetto and Bradenton), traveling north through northern Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, ending at U.S. 20 in Erie. Through Florida, U.S. 19 encompasses 264 miles, initially crossing over Tampa Bay via the Sunshine Skyway into St. Petersburg and urban Pinellas County. U.S. 19 also provides a connection between the Tampa Bay Area and the Suncoast region of Florida, which includes New Port Richey, Spring Hill, and Crystal River. Further north and into the Big Bend region, U.S. 19 remains a sparsely populated corridor, passing through Chiefland and Perry en route to southern Georgia. The route enters the Peach state north of Monticello.
The St. Petersburg-Clearwater Expressway was proposed as a 20.2-mile freeway that would have originated in downtown St. Petersburg and continue northwest to Clearwater. In fact, this roadway was considered as an Interstate Highway corridor (unnumbered as far as we know) in the 1970s. However, the U.S. 19 freeway was not constructed with those funds because of ineligibility for federal Interstate highway funding at that time, and it was officially dropped from plans in 1978.
Notwithstanding the 1970s plan for U.S. 19, a new plan took place in the early 2000s to bring U.S. 19 to freeway standards between Pinellas County Road 611 (49th Street North) in St. Petersburg and Florida 580 (Main Street) in Dunedin, north of Clearwater, with all but two segments completed by 2009.
A planned upgrade of Pinellas County 296 (Bryan Dairy Road) to freeway standards, as State Road 690, will tie Interstate 275 and U.S. 19 together. Named the Gateway Express, the elevated lanes over CR 296 will be tolled. Construction on the 4-year project started in early 2018.
U.S. 19 Florida Highway Guides
Page Updated 04-28-2018.