Work begins on new toll road
March 2, 2010
Contract work kicked off Monday on a $389-million elevated connection between Interstate 4 and the Selmon Crosstown Expressway, which will eventually eliminate cargo trucks heading to the port through the streets of Ybor City.
Crews have been moving utilities and other preliminary work. Monday was the first day of the toll road construction project.
The connector is only about a mile long but counting ramps and 12 lanes, there are about 22 miles of pavement, said John McShaffrey, a state Department of Transportation spokesman.
The cost is so high for a road stretching only a mile because the highway will be elevated.
"Bridge work is very expensive. There's a lot of concrete. This is not like building a mile-long asphalt road," McShaffrey said.
The project would have sat on the drawing board without the boost of $105 million in federal stimulus money. Of that, $89 million will go to construction and the balance to pay for construction oversight.
The project is expected to be finished in the summer of 2013. Transportation officials have said the work will create 14,000 direct and indirect jobs.
There will be traffic disruptions during those three years, starting today through Thursday with night closures of some westbound lanes on the Crosstown for survey work.
Most of the road closures will be at night, McShaffrey said.
The connector will hit the Crosstown just west of 31st Street and tolls will range from 50 cents to $1. All tolls will be paid through a SunPass or the toll-by-plate system. There will be no manned toll booths.
One main goal of the project is to provide a route for heavy trucks going to the Port of Tampa from I-4. Now, trucks use 21st and 22nd streets that take the semis through Ybor City. Those roads may be closed to tractor-trailer trucks when the road opens.
Some ramps will be restricted to semis and are expected to average 2,200 trucks a day.
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