Building infrastructure is a complicated process and there are always variables that can potentially cause delays, think hurricanes and other weather issues. However, with that said, depending on your perspective we are lucky or unlucky that in Florida because we can build things year-round while that’s not feasible in other parts of the country. In other words, we don’t get a “winter-break.”
By the time you actually see a project being built, years of work have already gone into the planning and design of the project, not to mention finding the money to get the job done. For smaller city or county jobs, projects have likely been in the works between two and four years. For larger projects, that time frame goes up to five to 15 years. In the case of the Selmon Extension, although the Authority has only been involved for about 9 years, engineers were working on solutions to help with the traffic on Gandy over 20 years ago!
From beginning to end, the life of a road project typically goes through these stages: concept planning, traffic studies, scoping, securing funding, environmental studies, surveying, geotechnical studies, design, planning review, contracting and then, finally, building the road.
Most people only see or notice that last phase of the project, the ole grand finale. (Who doesn’t love the grand finale, sans a few pets in the neighborhood?)
The good news is that Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) has completed all the planning and studies, (SelmonExtension.com under the “Documents” tab). We’ve secured funding – Authority bonds and toll revenue – no tax dollars! So, after 20 years of planning and conducting studies it’s finally grand finale time for the Selmon Extension!
Throughout planning and design of the Selmon Extension our goal was to build an iconic extension of the Selmon Expressway that would improve mobility and the quality of life of both commuters and local residents. In order to minimize the impacts of construction we have implemented steep penalties for construction delays and road closures during peak commuting hours. We are doing everything we can to make sure this project is completed safely with minimal impacts to businesses, residents and the traveling public.
However, we also recognize construction is inconvenient for everyone and especially difficult for the businesses along the Gandy corridor. So, we hope that when you enter the construction zone along Gandy Boulevard this year, instead of asking “Why is this taking so long?” You will instead ask, “How can I help #SupportLocal businesses?” Please remember you can help them by shopping at Gandy businesses during construction.
Visit www.ShopGandy.com for more information about Shop Gandy!