The Florida Engineering Society (FES), which is celebrating is 100th anniversary, recently named the Florida Department of Transportation’s Florida Turnpike System as one of its Engineering Projects of the Century.
FES has designated nine “stellar” Engineering Projects of the Century as part of its effort to emphasize “A Century of Innovation” illustrating the “evolution of engineering throughout the state of Florida.”
“These engineering projects illustrate the long-term engineering solutions that provide clean water, electricity, transportation, and other engineering marvels we rely on every day, as well as demonstrate engineering excellence in their local communities” FES says.
The turnpike system is made up of 483 miles of tolled highway, including the mainline that extends from Miami to central Florida, the Homestead Extension, Sawgrass Expressway, Seminole Expressway, Beachline Expressway, Southern Connector Extension of the Central Florida GreeneWay, Veterans Expressway, Suncoast Parkway, Polk Parkway, Western Beltway and the Interstate 4 Connector.
Turnpike officials say an average of 1.8 million motorists travel on the system daily.
Major milestones of the Florida Turnpike System include:
- 1957 – The original 110-mile stretch of roadway from the Golden Glades in Miami to Fort Pierce, known as the Sunshine State Parkway, opens under the direction of the now-defunct Florida State Turnpike Authority.
- 1964 – The second section of the Sunshine State Parkway from Fort Pierce to Wildwood was completed.
- 1974 – The final section opened with the addition of the 47-mile Homestead Extension of Florida’s Turnpike from Miami to Homestead.
- 1986 – The Sawgrass Expressway/Toll 869 opened to traffic providing a bypass around Fort Lauderdale to Miami for those motorists traveling south from the Turnpike’s mainline.
- 1990 – The Sawgrass Expressway was acquired by Florida’s Turnpike District as a result of legislative action.
- 1990 to the present – Florida’s Turnpike opened nine new system interchanges, added many miles of widening projects and made substantial improvements to the roadway, toll and service plazas. Florida’s Turnpike has also made substantial investments in electronic toll collection and intelligent transportation systems.
- 1999 – Created by the Florida Department of Transportation, SunPass, the innovative electronic prepaid toll program, is implemented across most of Florida’s toll roads, saving drivers time, money and the hassles of digging for change. Dedicated SunPass lanes process up to 1,800 vehicles per hour—300 percent more than a manual toll lane. SunPass transponders are now available for purchase through Florida’s Turnpike service plazas, all CVS/Pharmacy Stores and Publix Super Markets in Florida.
- 2002 – Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise was created by the Florida Department of Transportation.
- 2005 – Currently, more than two million motorists are SunPass customers with more joining the program each day.
- 2005 – Florida’s Turnpike, its expansion projects, and other toll roads take motorists from the top of the Florida Keys up to I-75 north of Orlando in North Central Florida, including the 47-mile Homestead Extension, the 23-mile Sawgrass Expressway in Broward County, the 19-mile Seminole Expressway in Seminole County, the 15-mile Veterans Expressway in Tampa, an eight-mile section of the Beachline Expressway in Orlando, the six-mile Southern Connector Extension of the Central Florida Greeneway in Orlando, the 25-mile Polk Parkway, and the southern 11 miles of the Daniel Webster Western Beltway in Orange and Osceola Counties.
- 2011 – Florida’s Turnpike converted the southern 47 miles of the Turnpike in Miami-Dade County to All-Electronic Tolling in February of 2011. Motorists never have to stop to pay a toll; they use SunPass or will be billed via TOLL-BY-PLATE.