- Florida State Road 570
Infobox FL State Road
The Polk Parkway, also known as State Road 570, is a 25-mile, limited-access
toll roadwhich runs through Polk County, Florida. It is operated as part of the Florida's Turnpike Enterprisesystem of limited-access expressways. The Polk Parkway mainly serves as a beltwayaround Lakeland forming a semi-circle, which along with I-4 circumscribes most of the city limits of Lakeland. The parkway also provides easier access to Interstate 4from Polk County cities such as Winter Haven, Bartow, and Auburndale, and especially the south side of Lakeland. The road is signed east-west, although the section from SR 540 to the eastern terminus near Interstate 4 runs nearly south to north. The Polk Parkway is a typical freeway, which is a four lane divided highway, with access controlled by way of exits, although a "final stretch" near the eastern end is two lanes (one in each direction - a "Super 2" freeway).
As part of the Florida's Turnpike network, the coin system of toll collection is employed.
SunPass, E-Pass, and O-Passelectronic toll collection are recognized. The Polk Parkway does not, however, employ open road tollinglike numerous other tollroads in central Florida.
The $490 million Polk Parkway was conceived in the 1950s as a circumferential route around Lakeland and named the Imperial Parkway by the County Commission in 1986. 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. A proposal in the 1970s/1980s that would have connected the parkway with the
Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expresswaynever came to fruition.
* Groundbreaking for the Parkway was
25 January, 1996.
* The Western end, a 7.5 stretch of the Parkway, opened to traffic on
9 August, 1998.
* The second (central) section, approximately 10 miles in length, opened to traffic on
2 August, 1999.
* The final section opened to traffic on
12 December, 1999, and is approximately 7.5 miles long.
The 1998 Florida Legislature designated the western seven miles of the Polk Parkway (between Interstate 4 and South Florida Avenue (SR 37)) as the
James Henry MillsMedal of Honor Parkway in recognition of his heroic actions in World War II in Cisterna, Italy. He was the only native of Polk County to receive a medal of honor for his heroic actions in World War II.
Traffic has increased beyond expectation in growing Polk County [http://www.theledger.com/article/20070722/NEWS/707220391] , and the Parkway is now seen as an important part of the county's transportation network. The "Super 2" section of the Polk Parkway will be expanded to four lanes in a $70 million design-build project, scheduled to begin in September 2009. At that time, an interchange will be constructed near Milepost 22 (Pace Road) to accommodate traffic accessing a future satellite campus of the University of South Florida (USF). The project is scheduled to be open to traffic in the spring of 2011.
There have been several plans presented to the public since the early 2000s regarding a proposed
Heartland Parkwaywhich would be a roughly 110 mile parkway extending from the Polk Parkway to southeast 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. [http://www2.tbo.com/content/2007/feb/09/110-mile-tollway-could-reshape-rural-central-flori/news-breaking/] Another proposed parkway would connect the southeast corner of the Polk Parkway with State Road 60 east of Lake Wales. [http://www.theledger.com/article/20080103/NEWS/801030511]
The toll to travel the full length of the parkway is $3. It is not possible to travel on the Polk Parkway without paying a toll of at least $0.25.
* [http://www.floridasturnpike.com/ Florida's Turnpike Enterprise (official site)]
** [http://www.floridasturnpike.com/maps/UpdatedMaps2007/polk_parkway.pdf Map of Polk Parkway/SR 570]
* [http://www.dot.state.fl.us/ Florida Department of Transportation (official site)]
* [http://www.sunpass.com SunPass]
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