Florida State Road 570
|Maintained by Florida's Turnpike Enterprise|
|Length:||24.380 mi (39.236 km)|
|Existed:||December 12, 1999 – present|
|West end:||I‑4 in Lakeland|
| US 98 near Highland City
SR 540 near Auburndale
|East end:||I‑4 in Polk City|
The Polk Parkway, also known as State Road 570 (SR 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.
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.
The Polk Parkway provides easier access to Interstate 4 from Polk County cities such as Winter Haven, Bartow, and Auburndale, and the south side of Lakeland. 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 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, using the northbound alignment.
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. 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.
The Polk Parkway has become an important part of Polk County's transportation infrastructure as traffic has increased in the growing county.
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. Another proposed parkway would connect the southeast corner of the Polk Parkway with State Road 60 east of Lake Wales.
The entire route is in Polk County.
|Lakeland||0.000||0.000||--||I‑4 (SR 400) – Orlando, Tampa||I-4 exit 27|
|0.534||0.859||1||To US 92 / CR 542 / Clark Road||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|2.851||4.588||3||SR 572 (Airport Road)|
|4.133||6.651||4||To SR 572 (Drane Field Road) / Waring Road|
|5.551||8.933||5||SR 563 (Harden Boulevard)|
|6.683||10.755||7||SR 37 (South Florida Avenue)|
|8.1||13.0||Western Toll Plaza|
|8.727||14.045||9||CR 37B (Lakeland Highlands Road)|
|10.143||16.324||10||US 98 (SR 35 / SR 700) – Lakeland, Bartow|
|12.6||20.3||Central Toll Plaza|
|13.918||22.399||14||SR 540 (Winter Lake Road)||Serves Winter Haven & Legoland Florida.|
|Auburndale||17.291||27.827||17||US 92 (SR 600) – Lakeland, Auburndale|
|18.645||30.006||18||Old Dixie Highway|
|21.2||34.1||Eastern Toll Plaza|
|Lakeland||23.00||37.01||23||Pace Road||SunPass only. Serves Florida Polytechnic University.|
|24.380||39.236||24||I‑4 (SR 400) – Tampa, Orlando||I-4 exit 41; exit 24 is the ramp to I-4 east|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- FDOT Interchange Report, accessed March 2014
- Florida @ SouthEastRoads - Florida 570
- Florida's Turnpike System Description - Polk Parkway
- Polk Parkway Packed Beyond Projections
- 110-Mile Tollway Could Reshape Rural Central Florida
- Consultants to Study Toll Road Ideas
- Google Maps distance
- FDOT straight line diagrams, accessed March 2014
- Florida's Turnpike Enterprise (official site)
- Map of Polk Parkway/SR 570
- Florida Department of Transportation (official site)