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Selmon Extension closed after loose strands found during 'routine inspection'

Officials say the extension will be closed "in an abundance of caution" while more information is gathered.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla — If you typically use the Selmon Extension to get to work, you'll have to find another route. 

The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority says while completing a "routine inspection" of the inside of the extension, engineers found one horizontal strand had come loose from its anchor.

Once the discovery was made, engineers investigated further and found a second steel strand in the same location had become loose, according to a press release.

"These wires can be maintained and replaced inside the structure with live traffic overhead. However, in an abundance of caution, and because of the unique nature of this structure, the decision has been made to close the Extension until more information is obtained and evaluated," THEA wrote in a press release.

Credit: Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority

The loose steel strands do not pose a structural issue, according to THEA Public Relations and Communications Director Sue Charzan.

"Think of a rope and think of one of the strands of the rope has come out and that's really what we're dealing with," Charzan said. 

It's unclear at this time how long the Selmon Extension will remain closed to traffic. In the meantime, barrels and message boards are being put in place to alert drivers to the closures. 

Officials say Gandy Boulevard and the Selmon Expressway are still open to traffic. Only the Selmon Extension — spanning from the Gandy Bridge to South Dale Mabry Highway — is impacted at this time.

"Again, because of the unique nature of the Extension's design, THEA is being extra cautious as we explore the issue and make recommendations for repairs," a press release continued.

THEA will continue to update the Selmon Extension's status here. The extension is still reported to be under warranty.

After 2.5 years of construction, the 1.9-mile toll lane opened to traffic on April 19, 2021. The elevated roadway serves as a "pass-through" option for drivers. 

According to officials, the extension cuts what is normally a 15 to 30-minute commute down Gandy Boulevard during heavy traffic down to about two minutes.

Anyone who takes the extension is charged $0.95 if they have a SunPass, or $1.31 if they use Toll-By-Plate billing.

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