M-CORES, Hell; Finish Highway 60

One of the essential faults with the plan to build three new toll highways across rural sections of Florida was exposed during this week’s Polk Transportation Planning Organization meeting in Bartow.
It is simply this: Florida is years behind in fixing the highways it already has that are essential for moving freight and hurricane evacuation, the very attributes ascribed to these proposed new roads, and diverting state funds to these new projects isn’t likely to improve the funding situation.
TPO board members on Thursday approved a resolution urging state transportation officials to four-lane the rural section of State Road 60 that runs through parts of Polk and Osceola counties. There is currently no state funding to do this. The only traffic relief in this area is  the existence of periodic passing lanes, which are a band aid solution.
“While looking at new corridors, don’t lose sight of the need to look at existing corridors,” said planner Tom Deardorff, explaining State Road 60 is a critical freight route– truck traffic makes up 30 percent of the highway’s traffic volume–and hurricane evacuation route.
Haines City Commissioner Roy Tyler, a former law enforcement officer who has responded to auto crashes there, described the section as a “bottleneck” where most crashes are head-on collisions.
“There are no fender benders on SR 60,” he said.
Later in the meeting the board discussed the need to improve another highway, the section of SR 33 between Lakeland and Polk City, that is plagued by heavy truck traffic generated by the distribution centers that have been constructed nearby.Ironically there is another toll road nearby, but it is not a convenient alternative route for the truck traffic. Board members were told there was no money available in the near future to fix that problem, either.