Canceled expressways in Florida

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There have been plans in Florida for expressways, but some were never constructed due to financial problems, community opposition and environmental issues.

Southeast Florida[edit]

In the 1970s, most of South Florida's proposed new freeways were cancelled due to voters choosing to direct funding away from roads toward mass transit projects and the planned Miami Metrorail. Hialeah in particular is anti-freeway, as many proposals for freeways in the city have been cancelled due to community opposition.

  • Cypress Creek Expressway: The Cypress Creek Expressway would have been a west–east expressway that would have run along the present-day Cypress Creek Road, serving Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale, North Lauderdale, and Tamarac. The Cypress Creek Expressway would have begun at State Road A1A (SR A1A) at the Fort Lauderdale–Pompano Beach border, and run along what is presently the eastern disjointed section of McNab Road. West of Old Dixie Highway, the road would have dipped south and run along present-day Cypress Creek Road (west of Florida's Turnpike it connects with the western disjointed section of McNab Road), until terminating at the proposed University–Deerfield Expressway (now the Sawgrass Expressway). There was no projected interchange with the Florida's Turnpike. It was to be four lanes for its entire length, and its total cost was slated at $22.6 million. It was never built due to funding and opposition.
  • Dolphin Expressway Airport Spur: The Dolphin Expressway was originally planned to be built on Northwest 20th Street, instead of its current alignment more or less paralleling Northwest 14th Street. A 1964 plan called for two options to solving the traffic problems near Miami International Airport. The first option was to convert LeJeune Road into an 8-lane freeway between the Dolphin Expressway and the Airport Expressway. The second option was to build a spur route from the Dolphin Expressway that would connect to the entrance of the airport, thus relieving LeJeune Road. The spur would branch off the tollway just east of NW 37th Avenue and run south–north on the west side of NW 37th Avenue. North of the golf course[where?], it would cross the Tamiami Canal and head west to the airport's terminal entrance on Northwest 21st Street. As part of this canceled freeway project, a stack interchange was built at LeJeune Rd and Northwest 21st Street, which serves as the access road to the airport. It is today used between those two roads and the airport. In addition, as part of the Miami Intermodal Center, LeJeune Road between Northwest 14th Street and the interchange with Northwest 21st Street has recently been converted into a full freeway entirely using land obtained through demolishing businesses on the east side of a car rental agency's parking lot. The Miami Intermodal Center lies on the northeast corner of the LeJeune Road interchange with Northwest 21st Street, which is why the interchange has been improved to allow access to the new transportation hub.
  • Gratigny Parkway: Today's Gratigny Parkway is much shorter than it was originally supposed to be. Its original western terminus was planned to be at the Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike. The eastern terminus was supposed to be a few blocks short of Interstate 95. The portion east of Northwest 32nd Avenue was canceled by a combination of community opposition and race politics. The project was originally put off in the 1960s. By the time it was revived, what had originally been a mostly white neighborhood in the 1960s had become a mostly black neighborhood by the 1980s. Despite its appearance indicating otherwise, the Gratigny is not an outgrowth of some failed plot to extend I-75 toward I-95. When the Gratigny was originally planned, I-75 was being planned to follow a route along the Tamiami Trail through the Everglades and then along today's Dolphin Expressway, with a connection to the planned Everglades Jetport (which was canceled by the administration of Richard Nixon based on opposition from environmentalists and became the Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport). After that, it was planned to follow today's route along Alligator Alley and then I-595 straight east to downtown Fort Lauderdale and the Fort Lauderdale airport. The Gratigny continues to the west as I-75 and curves north at Northwest 138th Street/Hialeah Gardens Drive. An extension to the Turnpike in the west is in MDX's 2025 master plan, which would run concurrent with a small length of I-75.[citation needed]
  • Hialeah Expressway: The Hialeah Expressway was to have been a third west–east route across Dade County, cutting through Hialeah, the second-most populated city in Dade County. Its eastern terminus would have been Alton Road and 47th Street in Miami Beach, crossing Biscayne Bay over the planned Beach Causeway. It would then cross the proposed Interama Expressway and I-95, and run along a path between NW 79th and 62nd Street. Upon crossing Okeechobee Road (U.S. Route 27), it would parallel NW 74th Street until reaching the West Dade Expressway, now the Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike, for a distance of 16 miles (26 km). Despite its cancellation, Northwest 74th Street was partially converted into a freeway. Northwest 74th Street was recently extended west to meet the Turnpike extension.
  • Interama Expressway: The Interama Expressway, also known as the Midbay Causeway was planned to be a south–north expressway in eastern Dade County as an alternative route and reliever to Biscayne Boulevard (US 1). It would have run from an interchange with I-95 and the proposed Snake Creek Expressway (originally proposed to run across SR 858), paralleled US 1 from there to an interchange with proposed South Dixie Expressway (see below) and I-95, slicing through downtown Miami along the way.
  • Rock Island Expressway: This would have been a south–north freeway built on Rock Island Road having its southern terminus at the Turnpike near Northwest 44th Street in Tamarac. The north terminus was most likely either Wiles Road or the University–Deerfield Expressway (now the Sawgrass Expressway) in Coral Springs.
  • Sheridan Expressway: The Sheridan Expressway was planned to upgrade SR 822, locally known as Sheridan Street into an expressway. It would run from Old Dixie Highway in downtown Hollywood to the also-cancelled University–Deerfield Expressway in Cooper City (now University Drive).
  • University-Deerfield Expressway: When it was first proposed in 1969, it was planned to be the northernmost part of a chain of expressways from Deerfield Beach to Coral Gables, but the proposed Snake Creek Expressway (in Broward County) became part of the Florida's Turnpike Extension and the LeJeune–Douglas Expressway (in Dade County) failed in the 1970s as construction budgets narrowed roadbuilding capabilities. On the other hand, the rerouting of I-75 from the Tamiami Trail to Alligator Alley increased the necessity of a northern/western bypass of coastal Broward County and invigorated the project which had acquired a new route and a new name, the Sawgrass–Deerfield Expressway, later shortened to the Sawgrass Expressway.
  • There were two expressways proposed in Palm Beach County: A northern extension of the Sawgrass Expressway to be called University Parkway would have snaked around western suburbs of Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and Boynton Beach. Its path would have bordered the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, turning east and terminating at Flavor Pict Road west of Boynton Beach.[2][3] The other expressway was to run west–east, connecting downtown West Palm Beach with the western communities of Wellington, Royal Palm Beach, and The Acreage. There were two proposed corridors: the first (and most desired by county commissioners) ran between Belvedere Road and Okeechobee Boulevard, displacing several homes and churches along its path.[4][5] The second proposed corridor ran north of Okeechobee Boulevard and aligned with Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard.[6] When community opposition to the aforementioned routes escalated, county officials offered to transform Southern Boulevard into a full expressway to avoid displacing any residences.[7] All proposed expressways were eventually scrapped.[8] More than a decade after shelving those expressway plans, Southern Boulevard was converted into a partial west–east expressway from I-95 to SR 7.
  • In addition, it has been previously proposed to extend the Airport Expressway west toward the Turnpike extension using the Northwest 36th Street corridor. However, the plan was never followed through with and it is now highly unlikely that such an extension will be built do to the heavy development of Doral. Nevertheless, the stretch of Northwest 36th Street between the Curtiss Parkway and Northwest 67th Avenue includes a four-to-three lane service road. With the proper modifications, such a freeway could be constructed using that right-of-way.

Tampa Bay Area[edit]

In the 1970s, there were plans for several freeways in the Tampa Bay Area, but most were cancelled by 1982. The high cost of acquiring right of way in this densely populated area, as well as community opposition were the key factors in canceling most of these freeways. Instead, planners decided to widen existing roads.[9]

  • Belcher Freeway: 10.6 miles (17.1 km), This freeway is a casualty of the high cost of acquiring the wide girth of land needed to build it. US 19 had traffic backups as far back as 1965, and the Belcher Freeway was considered in a Greiner, Inc., study that year. While public reception was positive, the freeway was cancelled in May 1978 as traffic projections without that link would have not made it cost effective or useful to construct. To compensate, US 19 was upgraded to a freeway in the area.
  • Brandon Bypass: This expressway would have served as an alternative bypass route to SR 60 in Brandon. It would connected at the eastern end of the Southern Crosstown Expressway, passing to the south of Brandon, ending at an interchange with SR 60 east of Brandon. By 1984, when city planners were ready to build the expressway, the area's population exploded, with high land prices and community opposition leading to its cancellation and instead widening SR 60 in Brandon. Most of this project was built in 2007, with the road ending at Town Center Boulevard, just short of SR 60.[disputed ]
  • Clearwater North Freeway: 4 miles (6.4 km), This proposed freeway would have connected downtown Clearwater with US 19 and points north, and it never made it to design or planning.
  • Dale Mabry Highway Upgrade: Dale Mabry Highway was planned to be upgraded to an expressway north of the cancelled Northtown Expressway to near Lutz. The upgrades were only applied to a couple of intersections due to community oppositions on most of the road.
  • State Road 694A: 3.6 miles (5.8 km), This freeway would have run from 137th St to SR 595 and connected the proposed west–east Gandy Freeway directly with the beaches. It was cancelled by 1972, and never brought to public attention.
  • Gandy Freeway: 12.6 miles (20.3 km), The Gandy Freeway would have connected with the proposed connection to the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway in Tampa, and provided a route due west to the beaches in Pinellas County on an upgraded Gandy Boulevard. The low likelihood of the Hillsborough County portion being constructed, and of increasing urbanization of Pinellas Park led to this freeway's cancellation in 1979. Remains of this freeway can be seen in the Gandy Boulevard interchange at I-275, the separated grade diamond interchange at US 19 with Gandy Blvd as limited access, and of the very wide right-of-way preserved along Gandy Boulevard east of I-275.
  • Hillsborough Bay Causeway: The freeway would have started near MacDill Air Force Base, heading southeast, crossing Tampa Bay to the US 41 corridor in southern Hillsborough County, also doubling as a barrier against hurricanes for Tampa. It was cancelled due to lack of growth in southern Hillsborough County and the fact that shipping would have been blocked by the bridge.
  • Northwest Hillsborough Expressway: In the 1970s, an expressway crossing through northern Hillsborough County was proposed, but by the 1980s, many of these communities, especially Lutz have opposed the road going through their towns. Eventually, the project was broken into two sections, Veterans Expressway which has since been built and the Lutz Freeway, now known as the East–West Road, which continues to create controversy in local politics.
  • Pinellas Belt Expressway: 7.4 miles (11.9 km), The Pinellas Belt Expressway, or beltway, was actually budgeted in 1974 for construction in the 1979 fiscal year but intense community opposition stopped the freeway from progressing. Construction would have disrupted retail outlets along Tyrone Blvd and US 19 Alt, and right-of-way acquisition would have been too expensive because of the neighborhoods it would have traversed. The full freeway interchange at US 19 Alt and SR 666 in Seminole is all that remains of this Belt Expressway.
  • St. PetersburgClearwater Expressway: 20.2 miles (32.5 km), This freeway was the highest profile of all planned in the county, and would have been built as an interstate with mostly federal funds. It would have provided a route directly from downtown St. Petersburg to downtown Clearwater and would have replaced much of US 19 through the Pinellas County. Land acquisition would have been easy as most of the route was railroad right-of-way. The freeway was officially cancelled on May 12, 1978, because new federal guidelines for interstates indicated that any approved route going forward would have to be 10 miles (16 km) or less in length, and be a "final link" in the interstate system as a whole, instead of a new road. Attention after that cancellation began to turn towards upgrading US 19 instead. The former railroad line is used as a bike/pedestrian trail, known as the Pinellas Trail.
  • South Hillsborough Parkway: Planned as early as 1972 to anticipate growth along the US 41 corridor, the road was to relieve traffic from somewhere in southern Hillsborough County north to the current I-4. However, the local swampy landscape didn't allow for much growth and I-75's presence served as a reliever in US 41's place, canceling the parkway by 1987.
  • State Road 60 Freeway Upgrade: 6 miles (9.7 km), SR 60 is a busy, retail-loaded west–east route in Clearwater. Legions of tourists from the north and east use it as their primary route to Clearwater Beach and due to its high traffic, it was proposed to be upgraded to a freeway. Local merchants and residents were against this upgrade, and instead SR 60 instead was widened, and an arterial bypass of downtown Clearwater was constructed. The freeway was dropped from records in May 1975.
  • Sunset Point Freeway: 7.2 miles (11.6 km), The Sunset Point Freeway was never seriously considered, with the upgrading of SR 60 to a freeway being favored at the time, although traffic studies in the early 1970s indicated that Drew Street, a major west–east road in downtown Clearwater, would need a reliever freeway route by 1990. The Sunset Point freeway never made it to the design or planning stage.
  • Tampa Bay Crosstown Expressway System: This was a system of expressways proposed to span the entire Tampa Bay area, but most of it was eventually cancelled. The Lee Roy Selmon Expressway is the successor of the South Crosstown Expressway.
  • Ulmerton Expressway: 8 miles (13 km), The Ulmerton Expressway would have upgraded Ulmerton Road from I-275 westward to an expressway, and was to have provided an important link for west–east traffic through Largo. Land acquisition would have been extremely expensive, erasing the practicality of building the freeway and it was cancelled by 1976. All that remains of this freeway plan is Ulmerton Road's very wide right-of-way, preserved by the state for the freeway when Ulmerton Road was expanded in the early 1970s. Long-term widening of Ulmerton Road using the extended right-of-way to expand from 4 lanes to 6 lanes was recently completed in 2009.

Other proposals[edit]

The Palmer Expressway, a Turnpike project, would have extended 6.2 miles (10.0 km) from County Road 709 (Glades Cut-Off Road) east to U.S. Route 1.[10] It would have been located near the northern edge of Port St. Lucie, intersecting U.S. Route 1 just south of Saeger Avenue. [11] The expressway would have run parallel to the power lines coming from the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant on Hutchinson Island.

The Northern Extension of Florida's Turnpike was proposed to continue the Turnpike northwest for 49.0 miles (78.9 km) to U.S. Route 19 at Lebanon Station.[12] Later proposals have routed it farther south to avoid the Goethe State Forest.


Red Hills Coastal Parkway[edit]

The Red Hills Coastal Parkway was a proposed $500 million toll road in the Florida Panhandle that would have provided an eastern bypass of Tallahassee from US 98 in eastern Wakulla County to US 319 in northern Leon County. In June 2007, the Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency, the local metropolitan planning organization, voted unanimously to remove it from their project list, effectively killing the road.[13]

The Red Hills Coastal Parkway was planned in 2005 by the Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency as part of the CRPTA's 2030 Plan as a hurricane evacuation route as well as an eastern bypass of Tallahassee. The Red Hills Coastal Parkway would have been a four-lane toll road linking US 98, near St. Marks, Florida with Interstate 10 in Leon County by cutting through rural Wakulla County and rural and suburban portions of eastern Leon County, eventually connecting with US 319 Thomasville Road, north of Lawton Chiles High School in Bradfordville and within the Red Hills Region.

Opposition to the proposed toll road was put forth by residents of the Red Hills with the support of scientific evidence by Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy, The Florida Wildlife Federation and 1000 Friends of Florida.[14][15] The United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the United States Department of Transportation and the Northwest Florida Water Management District said a need for such a project had not been established.[16]

In March 2007, a public meeting of the CRTPA was held and federal agency's review identified numerous problems including potentially adverse impacts to the Wakulla River and St. Marks River, groundwater, springs, sinkholes, wetlands, forests, and wildlife. Other problems arose such as the proximity to the unincorporated area of Chaires, Florida and urban sprawl in rural Wakulla and Leon Counties.[17]

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