Interstate 4/Crosstown connector almost ready to open - WFLA News Channel 8

Interstate 4/Crosstown connector almost ready to open

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YBOR CITY, FL (WFLA) -

Nearly four years and more than $420 million after the construction started on a connection between Interstate 4 and the Selmon Crosstown Expressway, the roadway is almost ready to open.

The one mile elevated connector will alleviate heavy truck traffic on local roads by providing a link between the Port of Tampa and the interstate system, according to Highway Public Information Officer John McShaffrey.

"That will take them off the truck route and so it will be much better for people getting around in Ybor City, whether they're walking or driving," explained McShaffrey.

There's no such thing as a quiet dinner in the original room of the Columbia restaurant. Truck traffic rattles windows and wine glasses.

"When the restaurant gets really busy, it's kind of annoying," said Columbia manager George Guito. "But over the years you become accustomed to it."

More than 11,000 trucks travel in and out of the Port of Tampa every day. Many of them roll right through Ybor City's historic district.

"It's really bad, especially for truckers. It's inefficient," said McShaffrey.

McShaffrey says much of that traffic will be rerouted when the new connector opens to drivers in late December.  

"Everyone's going to go through one tolling facility, which is around 4th Avenue. But you need to know where you're going as you enter into the system, whether you're coming off the Selmon or off I-4. So you'll need to pay close attention to the signs so that you'll make the connection that you want to," explained McShaffrey.

Work under the new roadway will continue through Spring 2014.

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