Exit 22: Interstate 175, aka South Bay Drive
The sixth segment of Interstate 275 brought the highway south over 1 Av N, Central Avenue and 1 Av S and to the second connector to downtown St. Petersburg, Interstate 175. Constructed in stages with the principal segments built in 1977 to the last segment built along with the Interstate 275 segment from 5 Av S to east of 28 St S in 1979, the highway was built as a overpass viaduct due to the numerous side streets as well as the three principal St. Petersburg east-west streets, 1 Av N, Central Avenue and 1 Av S, not to mention a railroad spur that has recently become an extension of the Pinellas Trail, a 30+ mile long pedestrian and bicycle trail running on a former railroad line from downtown St. Petersburg through Seminole, Largo and Clearwater to Tarpon Springs.
Interstate 175 takes motorists to Tropicana Field, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays, as well as the two major hospitals (Bayfront Medical Center and All Children's Hospital), the University of South Florida's St. Petersburg Campus and the Mahaffey Theater.
Interstate 275 Northbound at Exit 22
Interstate 275 Southbound at Exit 22
Perspective of Interstate 275 at Exit 22
Constructed in 1978 and opened in 1979 in two segments, Interstate 175 takes motorists to downtown St. Petersburg and to landmarks such as Tropicana Field (home of the Tampa Bay Rays), The Mahaffey Theater (which also used to house the Bayfront Center Arena, which was demolished in 2004), the University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg Campus and Albert Whitted Airport, a small general aviation airport in Downtown St. Petersburg owned and operated by the City of St. Petersburg. Motorists can also access the southeastern quadrant of St. Petersburg, including the annual Christmas Lights display and Coquina Key, by using 4 St S southbound after exiting Interstate 175.
The highway is a little longer than its Interstate 375 counterpart and it stops right at 4 St S. The speed limit is reduced initially to 50 mph for much of the route, with an eventual reduction to 40 mph then to 30 mph at the end of the highway. Like Interstate 375, Interstate 175 is sandwiched between 4 Av S and 5 Av S, which are one way city streets westbound and eastbound respectively.
Two of St. Petersburg's well known and highly respected hospitals, Bayfront Medical Center and All Children's Hospital, are reached from Interstate 175 at the 6 St S exit. After exiting turn right at the first traffic signal, which is 6 St S. All Children's Hospital is on the northeast corner of 6 St S and 6 Av S while Bayfront Medical Center is on the southwest corner of 6 St S and 6 Av S.
If you are headed to Tropicana Field for a Tampa Bay Rays game or another event, you will want to exit at the Martin Luther King St S/8 St S exit and turn left at the second traffic signal, which is 8 St S. North on 8 St S to 3 Av S; take another left and the stadium is straight ahead. Be sure to monitor the variable message signs on Interstate 275 as well as Interstate 175 for parking advisories on game days.
If you are taking in a performance at The Mahaffey Theater, simply head east on 5 Av S right after you exit Interstate 175 at 4 St S all the way to 1 St S; the theater and its parking garage will be in front of you. If you are headed to the University of South Florida's St. Petersburg Campus simply head east on 5 Av S after exiting Interstate 175 at 4 St S; turn right at 2 St S and the campus will be straight ahead after you cross 6 Av S.
Interstate 175 Eastbound
Interstate 175 Westbound
Perspective of Interstate 175
The Interstate 175 Pedestrian Overpass
at Tropicana Field
at Tropicana Field
At the same time Interstate 175 was constructed, a pedestrian overpass was constructed that connects Tropicana Field (which was the old Gas Plant neighborhood back then) with Campbell Park. Campbell Park is a multi-purpose recreational park featuring a baseball diamond, picnic shelters and a recreation center. Adjacent to Campbell Park is Campbell Park Elementary School, which is a marine themed elementary school.
Residents who live in the area surrounding Campbell Park can easily walk to Tropicana Field seamlessly by using the pedestrian overpass, which obviates the need to cross Interstate 175 at 16 St S or Martin Luther King St S.