You may notice some new activity next time you’re driving along Gandy Boulevard. 

A crew with the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority is on site collecting core samples between the Gandy Bridge and the Selmon Expressway.

“They want to know what kind of soil there is,” said spokesperson Sue Chrzan. “Is it hard-packed clay? Is it soft sand? Is it mud?”

That’s because the plan to build an elevated expressway is back on. Chrzan said the $190 million project, funded through tolls and bonds, is about to enter the design phase.  Right now, Chrzan said the new extension will be over the current median, and stand 30 feet high.

“If you’re coming from St. Pete into Tampa, you’ll have the option to go left up on the elevated structure or stay right to stay on Gandy Boulevard,” Chrzan said.  “And your drive is pretty much the same. Except on Gandy Boulevard, you’ll be stopping at the lights.”

Lights those passing through would be able to bypass.

According to the expressway authority, about 48,000 drivers crowd Gandy Boulevard each day. Traffic expert Chuck Henson said those numbers can really add time to your commute.

“During those peak travel times, you’ll see that time triple. I mean, it can be a half hour just to get across the bridge,” Henson said.  “Building this flyover ramp and doing it right could eliminate all of that.”

Officials estimate the new extension would divert nearly 19,000 drivers, freeing up Gandy Boulevard for local traffic.

Construction on the project is set to begin by the end of 2017, with completion by the end of 2020.