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Traffic engineers look to get approval on Turnpike expansion from Florida counties

Project would impact Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie counties
Posted at 9:51 PM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-02 23:30:25-04

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Florida's Turnpike Enterprise wants to double the width of the Turnpike, expanding it across three counties.

Engineers met Monday with city leaders in Fort Pierce to share their vision for the 37-mile-long stretch of roadway.

The current $1.6 billion proposal would begin in Jupiter at Indiantown Road and end in Fort Pierce at Okeechobee Road.

The number of lanes in each direction would expand from two to four.

"I feel like it would be better because you would have more room," said driver David Hernandez. "You can get around them and keep it moving."

Two new exits would also be added in Port St. Lucie at Crosstown Parkway and Midway Road.

"Look at all these people here," said Hernandez. "Everyone uses the Turnpike. I mean, a lot of people do."

In Martin County, not every leader is on board with the proposed plan.

"I don't have an issue with the widening of the turnpike," said Commissioner Ed Ciampi. "It's once we heard about how they were going to reconfigure these interchanges. That's the real issue for us."

Ciampi said the current proposal calls for the existing interchange at Martin Highway to be destroyed.

He said engineers want to move it to the west side of the Turnpike on Leighton Farms Road.

"If you're a consultant from somewhere else in the state and you're not familiar with a specific location that you're trying to envision, you can't do it," said Ciampi.

The project is now in the planning and design stage.

If approved, it would next go into the land acquisition phase and then finally construction.

There currently is no timeline on when the project could be completed if approved.

Florida's Turnpike Enterprise could not be reached for comment.