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Selmon Expressway to close during Republican National Convention

12:12 AM, Jul 24, 2012   |    comments
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Commuters on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway


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TAMPA, Florida -- Ready or not, madness on roads across Tampa Bay is only about a month away.

"I don't think the average citizen understands the magnitude of an event like this," said Police Chief Jane Castor.

On Monday, she and other city leaders announced the unprecedented restrictions for the first time.

"We understand that this may disrupt the day-to-day commute but this is a large scale event, one of the largest events in the United States," said Chief Castor.

Among the most massive closures will be the lock down of a 5-mile stretch of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway through downtown Tampa. The Toll Road will be closed from 50th Street to Willow beginning Sunday night, the entire week through Friday morning.

READ: Security Restrictions and Transportation Plan for RNC (PDF)

"Leaving later in the day will be a problem because that's when the activities associated with the RNC will be in full force," said Chief Castor.

While the raised section of the Selmon will remain open for commuters heading home to Brandon, there will also be plenty of roads closed downtown.

Veronica Castellana lives on Harbor Island. "When other things like Gasparilla, it's hard to get in and out, you know to expect it, but I have a feeling this is going to be worse," she said.

We showed her the city's newly released map.

"Oh, my God!" she said, looking at the sea of red colored streets indicating road closures.

It looks so bad, she and her family are leaving town.

"I feel bad for the people who have no choice but to be here."

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