TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority held a public hearing Thursday evening on the project development and environment study it's conducting on possibly adding additional lanes to the Selmon Expressway from the I-4 Corridor to U.S. 301.

What You Need To Know

  • A public hearing was held Thursday on the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority's study on adding lanes to part of the Selmon Expressway

  • THEA says the project would decrease traffic congestion and make the road safer

  • One resident cited noise from additional traffic as a possible concern

  • Comments can be submitted until April 29

“If you look at kind of where we are today in traffic, we’re certainly seeing tremendous growth in this region. We’re all seeing it, and we’re all feeling it. That growth is very different than what we had projected pre-pandemic,” said THEA CEO/Executive Director Gregory Slater. “The COVID pandemic was the great disrupter — started to see a lot more growth and greater amounts of growth coming more aggressively. So, if you look at some of our projects and some of the growth that we’re seeing, we’re about 19% over where we were projecting pre-pandemic.”

According to THEA, more than 100,000 vehicles used the area of the expressway that would be impacted by the project every day in 2022. That number was expected to jump to 167,000 by 2046, and the areas of Tampa Bay that contribute to expressway traffic are expected to grow by 85% during that time. Slater said THEA is trying to get ahead of that with the project. 

“What we have on the table today is our ability to add another lane in each direction on the expressway. Then, when you get down towards 78th Street, the ability to add another lane in the middle, where our reversible express lane feeds in,” Slater said. “It’s really about just adding some more capacity, making the roadway a little bit more efficient, a little bit more safe.”

Information from THEA shows the project is expected to improve capacity, adding 28,000 daily trips and reducing travel time. Cutting back congestion is also projected to reduce crashes in the area by 25%.

Natali Vazquez was the only resident who spoke at the public hearing. She said she owns an investment property in the Palmetto Beach neighborhood, which is right behind the expressway. Her concern is noise, and not just from construction.

“I lived in the home for a few years, and the impacts of noise all night because of the highway are pretty great. So, having more traffic in that area is concerning,” Vazquez said.

Slater said public input is going to play an important role in helping to decide on details of the project if it moves forward.

“How can we take the feedback that we have, weave that back into the solutions that we bring?” Slater said. “Because the feedback that we’re getting is not only from the people that live around the corner, but the people that are traveling on it every day.”

“I absolutely see the need for the expansion, and we have so many people coming to Tampa,” said Vazquez. “And so that was my concern in, you know, making sure we’re keeping in line with the growth of Tampa, but also respecting existing communities.”

If you would still like to provide feedback, comments can be submitted until April 29 online at EastSelmonPDE.com or by mailing them to:

Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority

c/o Keisha Pickett Boyd

1104 East Twiggs Street, Suite 300

Tampa, FL 33602