If you haven’t traveled to St. Petersburg via Gandy Boulevard in Pinellas County lately, you may not recognize where you are. Trees have been cleared, utilities relocated and mounds of dirt are transforming into an elevated roadway from east of 4th Street to I-275. $120 million has been dedicated for the grade-separated intersection at Roosevelt and Gandy Boulevard – a major bottle neck that will now be eased by a continuous connection over to I-275.
A similar proposal for the 1.6 mile gap in Hillsborough County between the Selmon Expressway and the Gandy Bridge has been discussed by the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority Board. The proposal, called the Selmon West Extension, is part of the draft Strategic Plan and calls for a toll lane above the median of Gandy Boulevard. The idea is to allow a choice for local residents to use Gandy Boulevard for local destinations and regional travelers to use the Selmon Extension for a direct connection to the Gandy Bridge. The goal is a more efficient and safer evacuation route, to reduce intersection traffic on Gandy Boulevard, and to provide an important link for businesses, freight and people across the bay. In developing the MPO’s Long Range Transportation Plan, a survey was conducted in 2012 indicating support for the elevated roadway by a majority of people living within a ½ mile of the Gandy corridor.