Polk Commissioners Set To Quietly Advance Southwest Toll Road Connection Plan

Buried in next Tuesday’s Polk County Commission consent agenda is a resolution that relates to one of the controversial toll roads approved earlier this year by the Florida Legislature..
The resolution endorses the idea of joint planning with state transportation officials in selecting the location for the connection of the northern terminus of the proposed toll road between Polk and Collier counties.
Polk officials propose a location that would connect the planned Central Polk Parkway and State Road 60 to the new highway near what is now called Florida’s Gateway Intermodal Logistics Center, which is the CSX freight terminal that opened in 2014 in south Winter Haven.
The western leg of the Central Polk Parkway, a new toll road that would run from State Road 60 to the Polk Parkway, is in the middle of final design. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2024.
One of the unresolved issues is how big a bite the new road would take out of Marshall Hampton Reserve, a popular outdoor recreation site across Lake Hancock from Circle B Bar Reserve and how state transportation will mitigate the damage to public access the road project will cause.
An eastern leg of the Central Polk Parkway is proposed to arc through rural areas east of Haines City before circling back to join an already heavily congested section of Interstate 4. It  is on hold because state transportation officials concluded it would not generate enough toll revenue to justify its cost.
Under state legislation, the three new toll roads, which are now being discussed by state task forces, are supposed to be under construction by Dec. 31, 2022 if the projects are feasible.
There’s no word at this point on what kind of evidence would be necessary to persuade state officials any of the projects are not feasible.