Selmon extension plans move forward; not all business owners on board

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – It’s the part of the daily commute that drives drivers nuts. Gandy Boulevard is no fun during morning and afternoon traffic.

Tammie Lockwood knows it very well. “Every time we come over here, there’s always a problem with congestion. It’s just non-stop,” Lockwood said.

Gandy Boulevard

After 20 years of talk, a bold toll road plan has been proposed. That plan is to build two additional lanes 30 feet up. The idea is to build them from Dale Mabry Highway to the Gandy Bridge and hopefully relieve congestion especially during rush hour.

This week, planners signed a contract for conceptual plans to go forward.

“Our goal is to have it done by 2020 because at that time Florida Department of Transportation is looking at doing the 60-275 interchange, the Howard Franklin interchange, so we’re hoping to be a reliever to that construction” said Sue Chrzanwith the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority.

The idea is to take regional drivers off Gandy, funnel them to the overhead lanes and keep local traffic on the surface street.

The president of the Gandy/Sun Bay Civic Association doesn’t like what he’s seeing.

Gandy Boulevard

Al Steenson has 3 concerns: How the project looks, how it could affect businesses and whether it will really help. “But keep in mind, we only have congestion on that road over there for about four hours a day … That’s 20 hours a week,” Steenson said.

He calls Gandy the area’s “main drag” and said he’s heard from business owners worried an elevated road could cut down on customers.

The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority is sending people out to talk to business owners about their concerns.

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