Taking an east-west course across Tampa, Florida State Road 618 is the tolled Selmon Crosstown Expressway. Partially an elevated highway, the state road is the most direct route between Brandon and Downtown, and the fastest way across South Tampa to the Gandy Bridge along U.S. 92.
Selmon Expressway - Extension
Two extensions of the Crosstown Expressway have been planned and, officially, are still on the books. The eastern extension into Brandon along SR 60 was debated on and planned in the late 1980s but was effectively killed by local opposition. The eastern extension is not likely to be built, and it was not in the mid-2000s county 20-year transportation plan.
The western extension of the expressway dates back to 1975, when detailed plans for the expressway were drawn. The state eventually spent some money acquiring land, but lacked the $70 million to build the road. Opposition arose from business leaders along Gandy Boulevard (U.S. 92), which would lose traffic to the Crosstown Expressway. No progress was made in the ensuing decades, leaving motorists without a direct connection between the Crosstown Expressway and the Gandy Bridge across Tampa Bay.
The Selmon Extension finally moved forward following traffic studies in 2002 and 2007, and a PD&E Study in 2010. A design-build contract for the 1.9-mile project was awarded in July 2017. Initial work on the $230 million elevated roadway commenced on August 31, 2017 with boring for soil samples.5
The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) conducted a poll for the Selmon Extension Pier design in fall 2017. Receiving 74% of the 1,805 votes cast, the Estuary design was selected on October 23, 2017.6 Grading work for the Selmon Extension was underway along U.S. 92 (Gandy Boulevard) by January 2018. Work extends through fall of 2020, when the two-lane toll road above the median of U.S. 92 opens to traffic. The Selmon Extension will bypass signalized intersections with West Shore Boulevard, Manhattan Avenue and Lois Avenue, directly linking with the Gandy Bridge. All tolls will be collected electronically.
Selmon Express Lanes
A major improvement to the Selmon Expressway was the reversible lanes project. Comprising a six-mile viaduct in the median of the LeRoy Selmon Expressway, between Channelside and Brandon, the express lanes were first proposed in 1996. Construction was originally expected to be complete by summer 2005, but the April 2004 collapse of two 150 foot bridge spans, when a column sank 11 feet,2 delayed the project to a July 18, 2006 opening. The lanes flow inbound during the morning commute and outbound during the evening peak hours.
Funded in part by federal stimulus funds, the $421-million3 Crosstown connector opened to traffic on January 6, 2014. The elevated route links Interstates 4, State Road 618 and Port Tampa Bay through Ybor City in Tampa. The north-south expressway is unnumbered, as FDOT references the Selmon Connector as a series of ramps.
The high-speed connector provides a truck route replacing State Road 585 (21st & 22nd Streets) through the Ybor City street grid. Soaring to a height of 92 feet,3 the connector uses electronic toll collection and is accessible in all directions of I-4 and SR 618. Two ramps also lead directly to U.S. 41 Business for trucks bound to and from Port Tampa Bay.
|Euclid Avenue crosses a CSX Railroad line ahead of the northbound on-ramp to SR 618 (Lee Roy Selmon Expressway). The half diamond interchange joins the Bayshore Beautiful neighborhood with Downtown Tampa. Photo taken 04/22/15.|
|All signs at SR 618 on-ramps were changed to reflect the conversion to AET on September 17, 2010. This sign stands at the entrance ramp from Euclid Avenue. Photo taken 04/22/15.|
|The trailblazer selected in 1975 for the Tampa Crosstown Expressway. These signs were slowly replaced by SR 618 shields from 2002 to 2008, when a new sign design debuted for the Selmon. Photo taken 10/28/03. Second photo taken 12/27/00.|
|Falkenburg Road meets the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway (SR 618) ahead at a half diamond interchange. A ramp leads to SR 618 west toward Downtown Tampa. This stretch of Falkenburg Road between Palm River Road and the Selmon Expressway was completed in 1999, connecting the two pieces. Photo taken 09/25/15.|
- "Crosstown Expressway." Bayciti - Tampa Bay Urban Blog. Cozart, Justin, April 5, 2005. September 23, 2015.
- "Expectations Rise for Expressway." The Tampa Tribune, March 1, 2006.
- "Selmon link to I-4 nears completion." The Tampa Tribune, December 12, 2013.
- "Selmon Expressway Converts to All-Electronic Tolling Sept. 17." Tampa Hillsborough County Expressway Authority, press release. August 13, 2010.
- "Work on a Gandy expressway revs up this week." Tampa Bay Business Journal, August 30, 2017.
- THEA Announces "Estuary" as the Winning Selmon Extension Pier Design. Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority, news release. October 23, 2017.
- 12/27/00 by AARoads.
- 10/28/03 by Justin Cozart.
- 04/22/15 by AARoads.
- 09/25/15 by AARoads.
Page Updated 03-02-2020.