I-4, Selmon connector project on track
TAMPA - The Interstate 4-Selmon Expressway connector project, which is expected to take a majority of Port of Tampa truck traffic off Ybor City streets, is on target to be done by year’s end. The latest schedule update is that traffic will begin using the 1-mile toll road by Dec. 31 and the entire project will be completed by spring 2014, said Bill Adams of Johnson-Adams & Associates, the senior project engineer. “The project is 88 percent complete,” Adams told the board of the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization in an update on Florida Department of Transportation projects. “It all depends now on weather and things we can’t control.” The road, which will cost $400 million to build and $582.4 million overall including right-of-way purchases and expenses, was to be done by June 12.Construction began in March 2010 but fell six months behind schedule by the beginning of the year. State transportation officials blamed the lag on access woes in the busy construction area of I-4, State Road 60, the Selmon Expressway and railroad tracks and variations in soil conditions. The primary rationale for the project is to provide an elevated roadway to link the two major east-west corridors, providing exclusive truck lanes for access to the Port of Tampa. Motorists on the toll road will be billed through SunPass and toll-by-plate systems, with costs ranging from $1 for two-axle vehicles to $5 for six-axle trucks. The contract for the joint venture project by PCL/Archer Western does not have bonuses for finishing early, but there is a financial penalty for not completing it on schedule. After the work is completed, the contractor can be assessed penalties of $24,157.19 for each day past the current contract completion date, DOT officials said. Those penalties could be mitigated or eliminated if the deadline is extended for factors such as additional work, weather or other contingencies. The toll road will take an estimated 6,500 of 10,000 daily truck movements off Ybor City streets, Port of Tampa chief executive Paul Anderson said. “It’s a marketing asset,” said Anderson, adding that cargo will be able to move as far as Maine, Illinois and California without encountering a stoplight.