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The Polk Parkway, also known as Florida State Road 570 (SR 570/FL 570), is a 24-mile (39 km), limited-access toll road which runs through Polk County, Florida. It is operated as part of the Florida's Turnpike Enterprise system of limited-access expressways. The Polk Parkway mainly serves as a beltway around Lakeland forming a semicircle, which along with I-4 circumscribes most of the city limits of Lakeland.

State Road 570 marker

State Road 570
Polk Parkway
Route information
Maintained by Florida's Turnpike Enterprise
Length24.380 mi[1] (39.236 km)
ExistedDecember 12, 1999–present
Major junctions
West end I-4 in Lakeland
  US 98 near Highland City
SR 540 near Auburndale
US 92 in Auburndale
East end I-4 in Polk City
Location
CountiesPolk
Highway system
SR 569SR 573

As part of the Florida's Turnpike network, SunPass, E-Pass, and LeeWay electronic toll collection are recognized along with coin collection at toll plazas and interchange ramps. The Polk Parkway does not, however, employ open road tolling like numerous other toll roads in Florida.

Contents

Route descriptionEdit

The Polk Parkway provides easier access to Interstate 4 from Polk County cities Lakeland, Winter Haven, Bartow, Mulberry, and Auburndale, as well as providing quick routes from city to city. The road is signed east–west, although the section from SR 540 (exit 14) to the eastern I-4 junction runs nearly south to north. The control cities for the highway's signage are Tampa (westbound) and Orlando (eastbound).[citation needed] The Polk Parkway is a four lane divided expressway for most of its length, although between Old Dixie Highway (Exit 18) and 0.5-mile (0.80 km) south of Pace Road (exit 23), the highway is a two-lane expressway, with one lane in each direction.[2] As of 2015, the toll is $1.25 cash or $1.06 with SunPass at the three mainline toll plazas and $0.00-0.75 cash or $0.00-$0.53 with SunPass at junctions. The maximum toll for any trip along the Polk Parkway is $3.75 cash or $3.18 with SunPass.[3]

The Polk Parkway begins at Interstate 4 near the Hillsborough-Polk County line west of Lakeland.[3] Until reaching Harden Boulevard (exit 5), the Polk Parkway passes through mostly undeveloped land.[4] Just east of Airport Road (exit 3), the highway passes a large building with a green glass facade, which is the corporate headquarters for Publix Supermarkets.[5][6] Before reaching exit 4, the highway runs a half mile northeast of Lakeland Linder International Airport—a large general aviation airport—passing beneath the path of air traffic on Runway 5/23.[7] Between Harden Boulevard (exit 5) and South Florida Avenue (exit 7), the Polk Parkway was built along the alignment of Drane Field Road, which is now truncated at Harden Boulevard and continues to South Florida Avenue as frontage roads along the Polk Parkway.[citation needed] The first mainline toll plaza is located between South Florida Avenue and Lakeland Highlands Road.[3] The eastbound exit and westbound entrance at SR 540 (exit 1) are located at the Central Toll Plaza.[3][8] After crossing De Castro Road, the Polk Parkway curves to the north, passing the only operating landfill in Polk County.[9][10] Along the curve is the westbound exit and eastbound entrance of the SR 540 junction, which is the location of the planned interchange with the future Central Polk Parkway.[11] The Polk Parkway continues north for the remainder of its length.[3] A 4 mi (6.4 km) segment between Old Dixie Highway and Pace Road is a two-lane highway; the only overpass along this segment was built to accommodate a second carriageway west of the current highway.[12] About midway between Old Dixie Highway and Pace Road is the Eastern Toll Plaza.[3] The Pace Road interchange collects tolls with SunPass only and was added to the highway in 2011 to provide access to Florida Polytechnic University, located on the southwest corner of the I-4/Polk Parkway interchange.[3][13]

HistoryEdit

 
Original sign for the Polk Parkway, using a green background.

The Polk Parkway was originally conceived in the 1950s as a circumferential route around Lakeland, and after several delays in planning due to funding shortfalls, it was revived as the Imperial Parkway by the Polk County Commission in 1986. Due to the delays, a proposal in the 1970s/1980s that would have connected the parkway with the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway never came to fruition. In the spring of 1990, the Florida Legislature led by Senate leader and Winter Haven resident Bob Crawford, incorporated the Polk Parkway into the Turnpike Expansion Program, a part of Senate Bill 1316.

The Parkway's groundbreaking was on January 25, 1996. The western 7.5 miles (12.1 km) of the Parkway opened to traffic on August 9, 1998. The central section, approximately 10 miles (16 km) in length, opened to traffic on 2 August 1999. The easternmost 7.5 miles (12.1 km) of road opened to traffic on 12 December 1999, completing the highway at a cost of $490 million.

In the late summer of 2009, the Turnpike began widening the Polk Parkway from Interstate 4 at Polk City south to Pace Road from two lanes to four lanes. This $48 million design-build project includes construction of a SunPass-only interchange at Pace Road (exit 23), featuring a modified cloverleaf design, with a 25 cent toll for the to-and-from the east (north) movement. The to-and-from the west (south) movement is not tolled as there is a mainline plaza to the west where the toll will be collected. The interchange opened on November 10, 2011, providing access to the new Florida Polytechnic University campus.[13] The project is a public-private partnership between the Florida Department of Transportation—Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, USF Polytechnic, the Polk County Board of County Commissioners and The Williams Company.

The 1998 Florida Legislature designated the western 7 miles (11 km) of the Polk Parkway (between Interstate 4 and South Florida Avenue (State Road 37)) as the James Henry Mills Medal of Honor Parkway. Mills was the only native of Polk County to receive a medal of honor in World War II, in recognition of his heroic actions in Cisterna, Italy.[14]

FutureEdit

The Polk Parkway has become an important part of Polk County's transportation infrastructure as traffic has increased in the growing county.[15]

There have been several plans presented to the public since the early 2000s regarding a proposed Heartland Parkway which would be a roughly 110-mile (180 km) parkway extending from the Polk Parkway to Southwest Florida near Ft. Myers.

There has also been a proposal to construct an extension from the Polk Parkway encircling Winter Haven and connecting with I-4 near the Polk-Osceola county line.[16] Another proposed parkway would connect the southeast corner of the Polk Parkway with State Road 60 east of Lake Wales.[17] These will be realized as the Central Polk Parkway, which is currently in the design phase.

Exit listEdit

The entire route is in Polk County.

Locationmi[1]kmExitDestinationsNotes
Lakeland0.0000.000  I-4 – Orlando, TampaExit 27 on I-4 (SR 400)
0.5340.8591   To US 92 / CR 542 / Clark RoadWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
2.8514.5883  SR 572 (Airport Road)Tolled eastbound exit and westbound entrance
4.1336.6514  Waring Road to SR 572 (Drane Field Road)Tolled eastbound exit and westbound entrance
5.5518.9335  SR 563 (Harden Boulevard)Tolled eastbound exit and westbound entrance
6.68310.7557  SR 37 (South Florida Avenue)Tolled eastbound exit and westbound entrance
8.1[18]13.0Western Toll Plaza
8.72714.0459  CR 37B (Lakeland Highlands Road)Tolled westbound exit and eastbound entrance
10.14316.32410  US 98 – Lakeland, BartowUnsigned SR 35 / SR 700
12.6[18]20.3Central Toll Plaza
13.91822.39914  SR 540 (Winter Lake Road)Tolled westbound exit and eastbound entrance; serves Winter Haven and Legoland Florida
Auburndale17.29127.82717  US 92 – Lakeland, AuburndaleUnsigned SR 600
18.64530.00618Old Dixie HighwayTolled eastbound exit and westbound entrance
21.2[18]34.1Eastern Toll Plaza
Lakeland23.00[19]37.0123Pace RoadElectronic toll collection interchange; to Florida Polytechnic University
LakelandPolk City line24.38039.23624  I-4 east – OrlandoExit 41 on I-4 (SR 400)
  I-4 west – Tampa
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b FDOT Interchange Report Archived February 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, accessed March 2014
  2. ^ "Polk County Parkway". SouthEastRoads. AARoads. July 8, 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Polk Parkway" (PDF). Florida's Turnpike Enterprise. July 1, 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 September 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  4. ^ Google (October 21, 2015). "SR570 from I-4 to SR563" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  5. ^ "Publix Corporate Office". Publix. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  6. ^ Google (October 21, 2015). "SR570 near Publix Corporate Office" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  7. ^ Google (October 21, 2015). "SR570 near Lakeland Linder International Airport" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  8. ^ Google (October 21, 2015). "SR570 between Central Toll Plaza and SR540" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  9. ^ Google (October 21, 2015). "Landfill and southeast curve on SR570" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  10. ^ "Landfill". Polk County Board of County Commissioners. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  11. ^ Florida Department of Transportation District One. Central Polk Parkway from Polk Pkwy. to S.R. 35 (PDF) (Map). Florida Department of Transportation. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 21, 2015. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  12. ^ Google (October 21, 2015). "Braddock Road overpass of SR570" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  13. ^ a b "Polk Parkway's Pace Road Interchange To Open Thursday". The Ledger. November 8, 2011. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  14. ^ Florida's Turnpike System Description - Polk Parkway Archived 2010-09-22 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Polk Parkway Packed Beyond Projections
  16. ^ 110-Mile Tollway Could Reshape Rural Central Florida
  17. ^ Consultants to Study Toll Road Ideas
  18. ^ a b c Google Maps distance
  19. ^ FDOT straight line diagrams Archived March 6, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, accessed March 2014

External linksEdit