Central Polk Parkway

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Central Polk Parkway corridor map.

The Central Polk Parkway was a proposed toll road in Polk County, Florida. The proposed road was actually two separate roads—called "legs" by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The western segment would have connected the Polk Parkway with State Road 60 between Bartow and Lake Wales.[1] The eastern leg would have started a few miles east of State Road 60 and run north, paralleled US 27, and terminated at Interstate 4 north of Davenport.[1] The most recent, and viable, proposed routing would have connected the two "legs" together near the CSX Intermodal Facility south of Wahneta.[2][3] In December 2015, the Florida Department of Transportation announced the cancellation of any further work on the project, citing insufficient funds (a $1 billion shortfall) and low traffic volume.[4] The project has the support of the local business community and local politicians, who are seeking ways to revive the project.[5]


Funding status of design phase (as of 2014)

The Central Florida Parkway had its beginnings in another proposed road project, the controversial[citation needed] Heartland Parkway, which was proposed to connect the Lakeland area with Fort Myers. It would have run 150 miles (240 km) through undeveloped land in the Florida Heartland.[3] This proposal was enthusiastically supported by former governor Jeb Bush, but his successor Charlie Crist was cool to the idea due primarily to environmental concerns.[3] For the time being,[when?] the Heartland Parkway is on hold. The one segment of the Heartland Parkway which was not on hold was the segment in Polk County north of State Road 60 that some[who?] called "the fishhook". According to feasibility studies on various east–west and north–south routes throughout the state by the Florida's Turnpike Enterprise, the route from State Road 60 to the Polk Parkway was the only feasible route,[citation needed] meaning it would be supported by tolls alone. Further studies were funded and the project is currently[when?] past the initial planning stages.


The Central Florida Parkway would have fulfilled a number of needs in Polk County, according to the FDOT and the road's proponents:

  • It would have acted as a beltway around the City of Winter Haven, providing easy freeway access to the Polk Parkway and Interstate 4.
  • The planned CSX freight terminal off of US 27 in Winter Haven was supposed to have created substantial truck traffic, and the proposed road would have helped keep these trucks off of local roads.[6]
  • The Clear Springs development in Bartow will double or triple Bartow's population in the next 20 years, increasing traffic substantially on State Road 60 and US 17.
  • The construction of Legoland Florida on the site of the old Cypress Gardens will bring added traffic to the area.
  • The road would have reduced traffic on State Road 60, US 17 and US 27.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Central Polk Parkway workshop scheduled". Fort Meade Leader. Retrieved September 17, 2010. [permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Florida Department of Transportation. "Central Polk Parkway PD&E study: Viable Corridors & Evaluation Matrix" (PDF). Florida Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 21, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c "The Heartland Parkway Is Back On Track". tbo. Retrieved September 17, 2010. 
  4. ^ Palmer, Tom (December 10, 2015). "FDOT: Central Polk Parkway dead for now". The Ledger. Retrieved January 30, 2016. 
  5. ^ Rufty, Bill (January 6, 2016). "Maybe Polk County Will Build a Toll Road Anyway". Florida Politics. Retrieved January 30, 2016. 
  6. ^ Florida Department of Transportation. "Central Polk Parkway Homepage". Florida Department of Transportation. Retrieved September 17, 2010. 

External links[edit]