REL (Reversible Express Lanes)
The Reversible Express Lanes (REL), part of the Selmon Expressway network, are a unique system of roads designed to help decrease urban traffic in the Tampa Bay area. It is the first transportation project in Florida to utilize fully electronic tolls (all-electronic tolling), innovations with concrete segmental bridges, and reversible express lanes. When THEA unveiled the roadway, it was also the first all-electronic tolling reversible express lanes system in the world.
The REL serves as a direct connection between downtown Tampa and Brandon, allowing easier access for cars and buses. The design of the REL is as inventive as it is resourceful for the space currently available.
For similar projects, the space and money needed to acquire additional land for highway expansion are not attainable, which is why the segmented concrete bridge was created. This bridge uses only 6 feet of space within the existing median, with limited impact on the community and environment. Not only is it practical, but it’s also aesthetically appealing.
In providing a cashless, all-electronic tolling system, the REL also provides a video toll option. With 9 overhead transponder readers and 5 high-speed cameras in each direction, the REL combined transponder reader and video capturing systems offer 99% operational accuracy and trust for all transactions.
This unique system has led to several awards for THEA from state, national, and international establishments, including the Federal Highway Administration and the American Council of Engineering Companies.
Why is the REL System a Good Thing?
- Decreases Traffic – Incorporates more express lanes and options during rush hour for Tampa Bay commuters and helps to reduce backups.
- Environmentally Conscious – In many cases, expansions are detrimental to the surrounding habitats and wildlife. By developing a system within the already existing infrastructure, the REL reduces impacts in the local communities the road services. With all-electronic tolling and less congestion, carbon emissions are dramatically lowered.
Reversible Express Lanes Hours
- 6 am – 10 am: Westbound towards Tampa
- 10 am – 1 pm: Split Operation
- 1 pm – 6 am: Eastbound towards Brandon
Weekends and Holidays
- Eastbound towards Brandon
Times are approximate and subject to change.