New Gandy span of Selmon to open April 19

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C.T. Bowen, Tampa Bay Times
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TAMPA — Local and regional travelers will get a new route linking Brandon to Tampa and beyond later this month when the Selmon West Extension opens to traffic.

The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority announced Thursday that the 1.9 mile toll lane will be available to motorists the afternoon of Monday, April 19. The $230 million project has been under construction since late 2018.

“This project has been 25 years in the making, and I am thrilled it’s finally ready to open.” Joe Waggoner, the authority’s executive director, said in a released statement.

The toll route will allow commuters to drive from the south end of the Gandy Bridge to Brandon without hitting a stop light. It links the bridge to the reworked Lee Roy Selmon Expressway entrance ramp at Dale Mabry Highway.

The extension offers drivers a choice of staying on Gandy Boulevard for local destinations or making use of the new toll lane for so-called regional “pass-through” trips. The cost to use the extension is 95 cents with SunPass or $1.31 with toll-by-plate billing.

The extension’s design is being used for the first time in the U.S. The bridge’s distinctive fins support the bridge deck, enabling longer span lengths between pier columns. The bridge is 30 feet tall, double the height of most bridges, which will provide better sightlines for businesses along Gandy Boulevard, the authority said.

An invitation-only ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for April 19 at which the authority will present the city of Tampa a $2 million check to rebuild the parks on the north and south side of Gandy Boulevard, which were used as staging areas during construction.

“The Selmon Extension provides a critical link that connects businesses, freight, and people from Pinellas County to Hillsborough County. It will help stimulate social and economic prosperity for local businesses and the entire region,” said Vincent Cassidy, chairman of the authority’s board of directors.

The authority owns and operates the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, Brandon Parkway, Meridian Avenue, and the Selmon Greenway used by 200,000 travelers daily.

This story has been updated to include more current data on the number of daily travelers served by the authority.