TAMPA, Fla. — The Selmon Extension reopened Thursday after what the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) called minor repairs. The extension was closed earlier this week after loose wires were found during an inspection.
The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) said during a routine inspection an engineer found two wires had come loose from their anchors.
“There’s no structural issue. It’s basically like a rope, and there’s lots of strands inside the rope, and one strand inside that rope is frayed, so we want to take a good look at that and make sure our engineers are comfortable with the fix for it," said Sue Chrzan, a spokesperson for THEA.
THEA said they believe that they could have replaced the wires without closing the expressway, but they chose to close the structure while they continue to evaluate and repair it because of its unique design. Chrzan said the type of expressway is one of two in the U.S.
“It’s a big box and all of the stuff is inside, so all of your fiber, all of the cabling all of that kind of stuff, all of the tension that pulls the bridge together and holds the bridge up, that’s all inside," she said.
THEA's team of engineers determined that the repair is a minor one and that it is safe for traffic to be on the structure. The Extension is designed to have maintenance and repairs done inside the roadway with live traffic overhead.
THEA plans to open the roadway after rush hour to be ready for Thursday evening commuters. Crews will remove the barrels blockading the entrances and update the variable message boards to alert drivers that the Extension is open.
Gandy Boulevard and the Selmon Expressway continue to be open to traffic.
The Extension is used by 17,000 drivers per day on average.
“The Selmon Extension takes traffic off of Gandy Boulevard, and it takes about 50% of the traffic off of Gandy Boulevard, so now that it’s not open, you’re going to have 100% of the traffic back on Gandy Boulevard, so leave a little bit early for your destination either to work or from work," said Chrzan.
The Selmon Extension was opened on April 19, 2021, after three years of construction.