Tampa's Selmon Expressway Connector to I-4 was most recently set to open by December 31st. According to Florida Department of Transportation Public Information Officer John McShaffrey, that opening to traffic will most likely be pushed back to mid-January... possibly due to the Connector's celebratory 5K run set for Saturday, December 28th.
The connector project broke ground in March of 2010, and the price tag is just shy of $600 million. Despite the projected January opening, McShaffrey says that the contractor's extension allows for work up until roughly March, but that delaying the opening that long is a worst case scenario. Instead, some construction is likely to continue once the connector has already opened to traffic.
The connector project is a partially contractor-funded effort, so McShaffrey says that aside from a penalty for finishing late, the contractor has extra incentive to get vehicles traveling through the span's single automated toll plaza.
The primary goal of the connector is to get traffic off of smaller, narrow roads through Ybor City like 22nd Street and 50th Street - especially multi-axeled trucks that often have trouble fitting between the buildings.
The "Run the Connector 5K" scheduled to herald the roadway's opening on December 28 is sold out, and there is no place for runner friends and family to view the race up close. Runners should log on to www.runtheconnector5k.com for parking and shuttle information from the Tampa Port Authority.