Florida's Turnpike


Florida's Turnpike

Infobox FL State Road
shields=
name=Florida's Turnpike
type=toll
route=91
alternate_name=Sunshine State Parkway
length_mi=264.96 [http://www.dot.state.fl.us/planning/statistics/gis/default.htm FDOT GIS data] ]
length_km=426.42
length_notes=(309 mi (497 km) via the Homestead Ext.)
formed=1957
dir1=South
from=Jct|state=FL|I|95|US|441|SR|9 near North Miami
junction=Jct|state=FL|HEFT| in Miramar
Jct|state=FL|I|595 near Fort Lauderdale
Jct|state=FL|I|4 in Orlando
Jct|state=FL|Toll|429 in Orlando
Jct|state=FL|SR|80 in West Palm Beach
Jct|state=FL|SR|70 in Fort Pierce
Jct|state=FL|SR|60 near Fort Drum
Jct|state=FL|US|27 in Orlando
dir2=North
to=Jct|state=FL|I|75 near Wildwood
previous_type=SR
previous_route=90
next_type=SR
next_route=92

Florida's Turnpike (TPK), which has carried the Ronald Reagan Turnpike legislative designation since 1998, is a toll road that runs 312 miles (497 km) down the Florida peninsula through 11 counties, from US 1 in Florida City to Interstate 75 at Wildwood. It runs through Orlando, where it crosses Interstate 4; and West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, where it parallels Interstate 95, often literally next to it, separated by a wall. The Turnpike was originally known as the Sunshine State Parkway (SSP) from its opening in 1957 to April 1968. At that time, officials of the State Turnpike Authority made the name change for closer identification with the state and for less confusion. Many old county plat books still show the Turnpike as the Sunshine State Parkway.

The Turnpike itself is actually in two sections. The Mainline is a 269-mile route from the Golden Glades Interchange north of Miami to Wildwood that carries the hidden designation of State Road 91 (SR 91). This page's exit list describes the mainline only. The Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike (HEFT) runs from Florida City (near Homestead) through the suburbs to the west and north of Miami. It connects to the Mainline four miles north of the Golden Glades Interchange.

Tolls

Tolls on the turnpike are an average of 7.5 cents per mile US for two-axle vehicles. As the turnpike system is a primary route useful for evacuations, when necessary, the state "may" suspend tolls on the Turnpike, as well as other roads in the system, in cooperation with the state's emergency operations center working in concert with local county governments when a hurricane watch is issued, or when other state or national emergencies warrant rapid movement of the population. The primary method of payment on Florida's Turnpike system is via SunPass. Over 60% of Florida Turnpike customers use the electronic tolling. The SunPass electronic toll collection system can be used throughout the Turnpike, and other electronic toll collection systems in Florida, such as E-Pass and LeeWay, may also be used.

Tolls collected on Turnpike-owned roads are used to meet debt service obligations, and for operation and maintenance of the system. Profits, in conjunction with the issuance of revenue bonds, may fund new Turnpike-system roads or major system enhancement projects.

Management

Management is by the Florida's Turnpike Enterprise, part of the Florida Department of Transportation. It began as the Florida State Turnpike Authority in 1957, and was absorbed in the newly-created Florida Department of Transportation in 1969 as the "Florida's Turnpike District". Despite the different name, which was given in 2004, Florida's Turnpike Enterprise still carries full powers as a separate district of FDOT.

In addition to the Turnpike mainline, the Turnpike Enterprise owns Polk Parkway (SR 570), Suncoast Parkway/Veterans Expressway (SR 589), Sawgrass Expressway (SR 869), the northern end of State Road 417 (known as the Seminole Expressway), the southern six miles of State Road 417 (known as the Southern Connector Extension), the southern 11-miles of State Road 429 (the Daniel Webster Western Beltway) and the western eight miles of State Road 528 (the Beachline West Expressway).

The Turnpike collects tolls on the portion of I-75 known as Alligator Alley, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, the Pinellas Bayway System, and the Beachline East (State Road 528) — all FDOT-owned roads and bridges. It also provides toll collection services for the Garcon Point and Mid-Bay Bridges in Florida's Panhandle as well as the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway in Tampa.

SunPass electronic toll collection is available on all toll roads in Florida, including the OOCEA system (interoperating with E-Pass), Osceola Parkway in Kissimmee, Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway in Tampa, the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority system, and the LeeWay system of toll bridges in Lee County, which includes the Sanibel Causeway Bridge, the Midpoint Bridge, and the Cape Coral bridge.

History

Planning

Following World War II, Florida's population had more than doubled, tourism was increasing, and the citrus industry was recovering from a harsh freeze early in the decade. Growth was significant; the traffic it brought quickly over-burdened the state's highway system.

South Florida businessman Charles B. Costar watched as the state’s population grew and the roadways became increasingly congested with new residents and the tourists that included vacationing servicemen who had been stationed in Florida during the war. He wanted to ensure that South Florida got its piece of the tourist pie, and was concerned that a trip down the east coast of Florida would take days on the available road network, which passed through every small beachside town. His fear was that such a long trip would siphon off the traffic before the visitors reached South Florida. He had a vision to build a high-speed turnpike, similar to the one he had just driven while vacationing in Pennsylvania.

Florida Governor Fuller Warren saw his 1949 Revised Citrus Code passed through legislation. Established to provide strict guidelines for quality production of citrus, the code also included preliminary plans for a turnpike. In order to assure quality, citrus needed to be delivered promptly which meant the transportation system must be efficient. Governor Warren’s farm-to-market road network plan, of which the Turnpike was part, would work to relieve the over-crowded highway system and help citrus haulers and other delivery truckers meet their schedules.

Meanwhile, President Dwight D. Eisenhower was outlining his plan for the Interstate Highway System, but it was not yet legislated or funded. In 1953, Costar led a group of citizens to lobby state officials to create Florida’s first toll road. The Legislature created the Florida State Turnpike Authority, which had the ability to plan, design, and construct bond-financed toll roads. The bonds were to be repaid through the collection of tolls from Turnpike customers. Costar, as the owner of a major certified public accounting firm in South Florida, was also instrumental in creating the bond financing that lead to the creation of this “Florida Turnpike Act," which Governor Dan McCarty signed into law on July 11, 1953.

Credit for the successful building of the Turnpike also goes to Thomas B. Manuel. Known as the “Father of the Turnpike,” Manuel was a former rancher turned Fort Lauderdale county commissioner, and chairman of the Florida State Turnpike Authority from January 1955 to January 1961. A Turnpike bridge in Stuart bears his name to honor his contributions.

There were those in the 1950s with voting power in the state capital that were opposed to toll roadways. Manuel debated them, emphasizing the need for a good highway system in a state that depended so heavily upon tourism. In particular, during the 1955 legislative session many of those opposed to the Turnpike, mainly small-county legislators, formed a “kill the ‘Pike’” coalition. In response, Manuel set up headquarters in the Floridan Hotel near the capitol and won the legislators over. By the time the roll call was finished at the end of the session, only four votes against the turnpike were entered, and the Legislature granted permission to build.

Construction

In June 1955, a $70-million bond issue was floated and construction on the turnpike began a month later. The Turnpike Authority shelved plans for a state-long turnpike, however, when Interstate 95 was slated to connect Jacksonville with the rest of the state. This resulted in completion of a “bob-tail” version of the superhighway that ran from Miami to Fort Pierce.

In October 1956, all work on the Sunshine State Parkway extension was abandoned due to passage of the Federal Interstate and Defense Highway Act, which provided for construction of limited-access highways in the corridors that had been under study for the Parkway Extension.

Governor LeRoy Collins, in January 1959, announced that the new interstate highways had killed the need for building the Florida Turnpike north of Orlando. He instead turned his attention to what he believed was an excellent chance for the toll road to be extended from Fort Pierce to Orlando.

In late May 1959, the Board authorized a study for the Parkway Extension to Orlando. The general alignments of Interstate 95 and Interstate 75 were being resolved. The Interstate 95 route under study followed much of the original Sunshine State Parkway Coastal Route that had been studied in the early 1950s before construction began. Interstate 10 and Interstate 75 provide much of the connectivity above Orlando that had been studied for the Parkway Extension, so attention shifted to the Inland Route, with a revised mission to connect the Interstate routes in Florida.

In June 1961, the Florida Legislature authorized the Turnpike Authority to study and construct--if economically feasible--a project from Hillsborough to Manatee to Sarasota to Charlotte to Collier and into Dade County. This alignment eventually became the Interstate 75 / Alligator Alley route from Tampa to Miami.

By the early 1960s the Sunshine State's population had nearly doubled to 4,951,560 and the Turnpike extension was needed more than ever. Governor Collins approved the sale of $50 million to $55 million in bonds to finance the extension from Fort Pierce to Wildwood.

To make this feasible, it would be necessary for the route for Interstate 75 to shift six miles eastward to tie in with the Turnpike. As a part of a growing Florida, this second section of the Sunshine State Parkway was constructed, adding another 156 miles of roadway, and opening in 1964.

In January 1966, the State Road Department authorized traffic counts be conducted to justify the separation of Interstate 95 from the Turnpike. The previously-approved Interstate 95 alignment used 42 miles of the Turnpike from Stuart south. The State Road Department count program was to convince the Federal Highway Administration that a separate roadway was needed. This was a controversial political issue with frequent comments that the state’s toll facilities were costing Florida Federal highway dollars and should therefore be curtailed.

The State Road Board, in January 1967, abandoned any plan to use a portion of the Turnpike for Interstate 95 and adopted a route nearer to U.S. Route 1. The Road Board requested release from bond indentures that no parallel freeway would be built until bonds paid out, thus allowing the Interstate 95 project to move forward.

Expansion

As population growth continued, preliminary studies began for expanding portions of the Turnpike to six lanes in south Florida and for much needed additional north-south capacity in that area. Dade County and the State Road Department developed a plan for the West Dade Expressway. The expressway would begin at the Turnpike near the Dade County/Broward County line, turn westward and southward, and terminate at Florida City in southern Dade County.

Such Central Florida developments as Walt Disney World and SeaWorld Orlando, and increased use of existing transportation facilities generated a need for an extension of the Bee Line Expressway. A plan had also been developed to expand the connector from its existing western terminus on State Road 528 near McCoy Air Force Base (later to become Orlando International Airport) west eight miles to connect with both Florida’s Turnpike and Interstate 4.

In 1967, the legislature authorized the Florida State Turnpike Authority to perform engineering studies to determine the feasibility of both the previously mentioned West Dade Expressway, which became known as the Homestead Extension of Florida’s Turnpike (HEFT), and the Bee Line Connector extension, now known as the Martin Andersen Beachline Expressway .

In November 1968, the Board received the engineering report on the Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike, but delayed making a decision due to uncertainty on Federal Aid to extend Interstate 75 south of Tampa to Miami, an unfavorable bond market, and the move to abolish the authority. Meanwhile, a constitutional revision committee was developing a concept for a Florida Department of Transportation.

The Florida Department of Transportation was created in July 1969. The Florida State Turnpike Authority became part of the new FDOT. Soon after, FDOT and Orange and Dade County officials agreed the Bee Line Connector and Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike would be financed by revenue bond issues as extensions of Florida’s Turnpike.

Interchanges

Exits on the highway are on the mile-log system. The Turnpike started using this system long before Florida's interstates were on the system, but originally used a sequential system, and then a hybrid where adjacent exit numbers differed by 4 south of SR 60 (exit 60 at the time) and 5 north of SR 60. Motorist-aid call boxes are located on both outside shoulders of the road every mile (1.6 km), and send only a signal indicating the need for gasoline, repair (tire or engine), or emergency services (police, ambulance, or firefighters).

ervice plazas

Eight service plazas are located along the Turnpike mainline, spaced about 45 miles apart. A convenience store/gas station is located at the plaza on the Homestead Extension of the Turnpike, while the remaining seven are full-service plazas. All eight plazas have a 24-hour Citgo gasoline station, operated by Martin Petroleum, a Florida company. The full-service plazas are also open 24 hours per day, all having a Starbucks and such 24-hour restaurants as Burger King or other fast food restaurants operated by HMSHost. Other services include fuel, minor mechanical repairs, Internet access, travel and tourism info and tickets, picnic areas, TV news, gift shops offering Florida Lottery, family-friendly restrooms, and public phones. SunPass transponders are available at all locations in the gift shop. There is also an assortment of vending machines for candy, soft drinks and ice cream, and some even have arcade games.

Florida state legislators have announced their intention to do business with a different gasoline vendor following comments made to the United Nations by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. [Bussy, Jane. [http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/world/venezuela/16069000.htm Politics at the pump] . The Miami Herald, 21 November 2006. Accessed online 21 January 2007.] Citgo is owned by the Government of Venezuela. [ [http://www.citgo.com/AboutCITGO.jsp About Citgo] . Accessed 21 January 2007.]

Plazas are at the following locations along the turnpike:

* Snapper Creek plaza - Miami-Dade County - Milepost 19
* Pompano Beach plaza - Broward County - Milepost 64
* Lake Worth plaza - Palm Beach County - Milepost 94
* Port St Lucie/Ft Pierce plaza - St. Lucie County -Milepost 144
* Fort Drum plaza - Okeechobee County - Milepost 184
* Canoe Creek plaza - Osceola County - Milepost 229
* Turkey Lake plaza - Orange County - Milepost 263
* Okahumpka plaza - Sumter County - Milepost 299

Trivia

The 51 mile (82 km) stretch of Florida's Turnpike south from exit 244 in Kissimmee to exit 193 in Yeehaw Junction is the longest stretch of controlled access highway in the United States without an exit, though there is a service area approximately midway (Canoe Creek Service Plaza). A new exit opened at mile marker 240, Kissimme Park Road, in December 2006 and may have changed this distinction.

Travel between Exits 304 and 309 is considered to be a "free movement" as there is no toll for anyone traveling only within this section.

In 1998, the Florida Legislature designated the turnpike the Ronald Reagan Turnpike, after the 40th U.S. President. However, this designation did not replace the turnpike's existing name, only appearing on a few signs along the route.

The interchange located at Kissimmee Park Road (Milepost 240) is named for Senator N. Ray Carroll, longtime Osceola County banker, citrus grower and cattle rancher. Senator Carroll served as the role model for "Mr. Enray," the "Gasoline Alley" banker in the popular comic strip. Senator Carroll was a Kissimmee neighbor and friend of Gasoline Alley creator Frank King.

Intelligent transportation systems

Florida's Turnpike Enterprise is currently implementing an intelligent transportation system which consists of closed-circuit television (CCTV) traffic cameras, dynamic message signs (DMS), highway advisory radio (HAR), and radar vehicle detection system (RVDS). All of the systems mentioned as intelligent transportation systems, or ITS, are managed by two traffic management centers (TMC), one located in Pompano Beach, and the other located in Ocoee, just north of Orlando. The traffic management centers monitor the roadways operated by Florida's Turnpike Enterprise 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

ITS devices (CCTV, DMS, HAR, & RVDS) are used to detect and manage incidents on the Enterprise's roadways. CCTV cameras allow the TMC to see anything from congestion to crashes, to disabled vehicles that may pose a threat to the Turnpike's motorists. When an incident occurs that may affect Turnpike motorists, the TMC will activate the dynamic message signs (DMS) and highway advisory radio stations (HAR) to alert motorists of the potential situation. The DMS signs are also activated for AMBER Alerts.

Road Rangers

Florida's Turnpike Enterprise and State Farm have partnered to provide free roadside assistance service through the State Farm Safety Patrol, also known as Road Rangers. The Safety Patrol operates 15 zones on Florida's Turnpike from the Homestead Extension in South Florida, up the Turnpike Mainline to I-75 in Wildwood. Utility trucks, and in some cases light wreckers, patrol designated zones looking for stranded motorists to provide services such as fuel, tire changes, use of a cellular phone, and others, and also looking for hazards such as road debris and crashes. The State Farm Safety Patrol is dispatched by the Traffic Management Center to accidents, debris removal, disabled vehicles, or anything that may potentially affect the traveling public. They are also equipped to assist the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) with incidents involving blockage of lanes, as they carry cones and are trained for Maintenance of Traffic (MOT).

Current plans

Currently the Mainline of Florida's Turnpike is six lanes wide from Golden Glades to milepost 80, and four lanes for the remainder of its length. Current construction projects will extend the six-lane section northward, west of the cities of Delray Beach (Exit 81) and Boynton Beach (Exit 86), to the Lantana Toll Plaza, making the entire Southern coin system at least six lanes wide. Plans are also in the works to widen the road between Lake Worth and Palm Beach Gardens to 8 lanes. The exits would include the Lake Worth Road, Southern Blvd, Jog Road, Okeechobee Blvd., Beeline Highway, and PGA Blvd. Work along the original stretch of the Turnpike started, in 2006, in Broward County to widen the section from Exit 53 to Exit 66 from six to eight lanes.

The project to widen the Turnnpike from four to eight lanes between US 441 and Interstate 4 in Orlando was recently completed. A $128.6 million project to add two lanes in each direction between Interstate 4 and Beulah Road began in June 2007.http://www2.dot.state.fl.us/programdevelopmentoffice/wp/majproj/TurnPOrangeWidenMainlinefromI4toGothaRd.pdf] http://www2.dot.state.fl.us/programdevelopmentoffice/wp/majproj/TurnPOrangeWidenMainlinefromGothaRdtoBeulahRd.pdf] Improvements will be made at the Interstate 4, State Road 408 and State Road 429 interchanges. Auxiliary lanes will also be added between State Road 408 and State Road 429. Those projects will be completed in 2011. Further widening, from Beulah Road to SR 50 west of Winter Garden, is scheduled to begin in 2013.http://www2.dot.state.fl.us/programdevelopmentoffice/wp/majproj/TurnPOrangeWidenMainlineBeulahRdtoSR50.pdf]

A study is currently under way to eventually reconstruct the northern end of the Turnpike at its junction with Interstate 75 to improve the traffic merge pattern between there and State Road 44. Weaving on I-75 between the Turnpike and SR 44 has been a serious problem in recent years. The project is not scheduled for construction funding until 2015.

The Turnpike Enterprise is also studying possible developer-funded future interchanges near mile marker 279 (servicing Minneola and Clermont) and at Sumter County Road 468 (mile marker 300, servicing The Villages and Lady Lake). Neither project is funded or scheduled for construction at this time. [ [http://www.floridasturnpike.com/construction_future.cfm Florida's Turnpike - The Less Stressway | Construction | Future Projects ] ]

Other roads

Florida's Turnpike Enterprise also operates a number of other toll roads:
*Beachline Expressway (Beeline Expressway) (State Road 528)
*Polk Parkway (State Road 570)
*Sawgrass Expressway (State Road 869)
*Seminole Expressway (State Road 417)
*Southern Connector Extension (State Road 417)
*Suncoast Parkway (State Road 589)
*Veterans Expressway (State Road 568 and State Road 589)
*Western Beltway (State Road 429)

Exit list

"Today, all exits on Florida's Turnpike are mileage-based from the south end of the Homestead Extension. Once the HEFT reaches the mainline, the mainline continues the numbering. The spur of the mainline from the HEFT to the Golden Glades Interchange assumes an alternate numbering system that suffixes an X to each exit number. For exits 1 through 47, see Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike."

"Any exit or location in parentheses that does not have an exit number—the number indicates the approximate mile of the location."

"All tolls described assume the toll is paid in cash. If using SunPass, there is an average of a 25% discount on tolls. Exceptions, such as SunPass-only exit ramps, will be noted."

References

External links

* [http://www.floridasturnpike.com/ Florida's Turnpike Enterprise]
* [http://www.floridasturnpike.com/maps/UpdatedMaps2006/mainline.pdf Florida's Turnpike Mainline] Route Map (PDF)


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