Runners will race across I-4 connector before it opens to cars

Published December 27 2013
Updated December 27 2013

For more than three years, commuters have watched the construction of the connector between Interstate 4 and the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, but Saturday they will get a unique perspective as they take their one legal chance to run on the highway before it opens to cars and trucks.

The idea proved so intriguing that the race has reached capacity and registration is now closed.

Runners will hoof it along the mostly-elevated route, the most expensive road Tampa Bay has ever seen, and will get a great view of McKay Bay, Palmetto Beach, the roadway's highly touted state-of-the-art toll facility and downtown Tampa.

The connector will provide relief to Ybor City streets clogged with trucks serving the Port of Tampa. The project cost $422 million to build and has been going on since March 2010.

The run will be held at 9:30 a.m. and will begin at 20th Street before heading out to Interstate 4 and back.

For those driving it when it opens in early January, there will be one toll spot and it won't take cash — you'll have to use SunPass or Toll-by-Plate. For most drivers, it will cost between 50 cents and $1.25, depending on how far you go.

Planned for more than two decades, the project was one of the largest single recipients of the 2009 federal stimulus funding grants.

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