WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) – A multi-million dollar investment in road infrastructure at a center of commerce in the central Florida region could cause traffic headaches for some neighborhoods, residents fear.
In Winter Haven Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced over $9 million in awards from the state to build a road at the Central Florida Intermodal Logistics Center.
The site, owned by CSX, moves goods from freight trains to trucks for distribution throughout the region.
An industrial park adjacent to the terminal is expanding, with Coca-Cola and Florida Can Manufacturing recently moving in.
The expansion is expected to generate 5,000 new jobs in the next several years, according to Gov. DeSantis.
“By making these road improvements, it’s really going to provide important linkages. We’re going to be improving access to more than 1,200 acres of industrial area that will attract new businesses and generate new jobs for the community,” he said.
“This changes the game for us,” said Bruce Lyon, president of the Winter Haven Economic Development Council.
According to Lyon, there are between 600 – 800 trucks driving through the logistics center every day, sharing Logistics Parkway with other vehicles.
“With one road in and one road out, and an immense amount of truck traffic, some companies have had some concerns about that,” said Lyon.
The new road will send vehicles north towards Eagle Lake Loop Road.
“This will give alternate access to the community for jobs. It will be autos only, no trucks up into the community. All the trucks will still go south,” said Lyon.
Residents of that area who spoke to News Channel 8 were concerned about the increase in traffic heading to their neighborhood.
“I don’t like it. Like I said, I’ve been out here 36 years and don’t have much traffic at all. And now you’re talking a lot of traffic,” said Dale Anderson, who lives on Pollard Road. “I’m going to have to fence off my property completely.”
The $9 million in state funding comes from the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund and the Florida Department of Transportation.
“We’ve made almost $60 million in investment [in Polk County] in 2021 alone. We’re really bullish on Polk county and we understand that it’s gonna help drive this state now and into the future,” said Gov. DeSantis.