End in sight for Gandy elevated bridge project

After nearly three years of construction of an elevated bridge over Gandy Boulevard, some sections of the project are finally heading into the home stretch. 

The roadway of the new bridge is made of individual concrete segments, and crews are now more than 80% done with the installation process. 

“We have, roughly, just over 600 segments hanging in the air out of the 744 needed to complete the project,” said project information officer Kym Graves.

Those specifically made segments sit on top of 55 piers and caps, spanning nearly two miles.

That stretch of the Selmon Extension construction should finish by the end of the year, but officials say it will still be some time before drivers can use the bridge.

“After the segments are installed and the roadway is complete, we will have a ton of work to finish up,” Graves said.

Rendering of completed project

Crews have already started on the west end, installing drainage, wiring electrical, painting, and laying pavers, though many smaller jobs remain before the project is finished. 

“We're also doing landscaping and aesthetic lighting on top of the bridge,” said Graves.

The extension is designed to look good, with a blue and white color scheme, lighting that can change color above and below the elevated roadway, and decorative fins perched in the median. Those 27 concrete encasements serve a bigger purpose, helping to support the bridge.

The Selmon Extension towers 30 feet over Gandy Boulevard, another design element done intentionally.

“It doesn’t disconnect the neighborhoods, disconnect the businesses so you can, when you’re driving you can see from one side to the other,” Graves said.

Officials expect the elevated bridge to see a lot of traffic. However, drivers still have a bit to wait; the Selmon Extension is set to be complete next summer.