Foes of plan for elevated road over Gandy call on council
March 5, 2010
About two dozen opponents of a proposed elevated roadway over Gandy Boulevard showed up at Thursday's city council meeting to voice their concerns.
While the council doesn't have a vote on the roadway, opponents came hoping to enlist the help of city council members in their nearly two-decade fight to nix the project.
They claim the Tampa-Hillsborough County Expressway Authority project will force business owners into bankruptcy and cause property values in the area to tumble.
"It's not needed and it's not wanted," said Joseph Booker, wearing a sticker that read "Elevated Expressway" with a line through it.
The project, which has gone through many changes over the years, is aimed at reducing rush-hour traffic on Gandy and providing another evacuation route from Pinellas County.
The Florida Department of Transportation has given a green light to move ahead with the project, and the authority's board of directors is expected to vote on it March 22.
The two-lane, 30-foot high elevated roadway, as proposed by the expressway authority, would extend the Selmon Crosstown Expressway over to the Gandy Bridge.
If approved, the $115 million project isn't expected to break ground until 2013. Funding would come from bonds backed by future revenue from expressway toll collections.
Still, not everyone who lives in surrounding neighborhoods opposes the project. David Miller, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than a half-century, called the opponents a "vocal minority" who don't represent the entire community.
"The vast majority of area residents are actually in support of reducing surface street congestion in their neighborhood, including an elevated roadway," he said.
Later in Thursday's meeting, council members listened to a brief presentation on the scope of the project by an expressway authority representative.
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