Selmon Extension Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the Selmon Extension?
A: The Selmon Extension is a 1.6-mile toll lane, located in the median of Gandy Boulevard, which will allow a choice for local residents and regional travelers: use Gandy Boulevard for local destinations or use the Selmon Extension for a direct connection (Eastbound) to the Selmon Expressway or Dale Mabry or (Westbound) to the Gandy Bridge.
In order to maintain current access and visibility to businesses, the Selmon Extension will be innovatively designed to limit its size while maximizing visibility. We anticipate that the toll lane will be at least 30 feet high – that’s approximately twice as high than a typical urban bridge. The sleek design is intended to take the Extension out of a driver’s line of sight – allowing the driver to see businesses and turn lanes from both sides of Gandy Boulevard.
By removing the “pass-through” traffic coming to and from the Gandy Bridge that has no destination in the Gandy corridor, the Selmon Extension will create at least 35% greater capacity on Gandy Boulevard for neighborhood traffic and customers of Gandy Boulevard corridor businesses.
Q: What are the benefits of the Selmon Extension?
A: The Selmon Extension will provide safer, smarter and connected transportation solutions for both local and regional travelers:
The Extension provides a safe, dedicated and reliable hurricane and emergency evacuation route for Gandy area and regional residents, as well as helping to reduce accidents from red-light running and distracted driving.
The Selmon Extension gives travelers a choice to either stay on Gandy Boulevard for local destinations or use the Selmon Extension for regional “pass-through” trips. This results in reduced travel times, fuel consumption, and carbon emissions.
The Extension provides critical connectivity to the region for travelers and commerce between Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. It allows buses, commercial, and emergency vehicles that are not stopping on Gandy Boulevard, seamless regional connectivity. The Selmon Extension will complete the link between the Selmon Expressway and the under-construction overpasses in Pinellas County that will link I-275 and the Gandy Bridge– providing connectivity from Brandon to the Beaches and Back.
Q: What are the next steps for the Selmon Extension?
A: THEA is updating the 2010 Project Development & Environmental (PD&E) study to reflect present-day Gandy corridor conditions. The PD&E update should be completed Summer 2016.
As part of THEA’s commitment to our community, we will work with the neighborhood residents and businesses, elected leaders, and other stakeholders to provide project updates and ongoing communications.
Q: Must all regional travelers now pay a toll to commute between Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties via Gandy?
A: No, regional travelers, indeed any traveler who does not want to pay a toll will simply stay on Gandy Boulevard. That’s one of the benefits of this project – providing commuters and regional travelers with a travel choice.
Q: How will the Selmon Extension affect businesses along Gandy Boulevard?
A: Construction is always difficult for motorists and businesses. THEA will work with the Gandy Boulevard businesses to identify issues and concerns – and then to address those concerns in our construction methods.
THEA will provide continuous project updates that include general project status and construction alerts.
THEA is also working with the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida to conduct an economic impact of the Selmon Extension. That study should be available Summer 2016.
When completed, the Selmon Extension will give travelers a choice, stay on Gandy Boulevard or take the 1.6-mile toll lane to connect directly to the Selmon Expressway.
Q: Has THEA explored other options to promote regional connectivity besides the Selmon Extension?
A: Yes. As recently as 2009, a Project Advisory Group (PAG), comprising Gandy-area community and elected leaders, reviewed several options to alleviate traffic congestion on Gandy Boulevard. These options included a tunnel under Gandy Boulevard, a bypass south of Gandy Boulevard and the Selmon Extension. The tunnel and bypass options were rejected by the PAG due to prohibitive costs and excessive disruption to existing businesses and residences along the Gandy corridor. The Selmon Extension was, and is still, considered the best option to offer safer and smarter regional connectivity while alleviating traffic congestion on Gandy Boulevard and creating greater capacity and access for neighborhood businesses and residents.
The Selmon Extension