The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District One is doing a Project Development and Environment (PD&E) study to evaluate the costs and effects of constructing a new bridge to carry State Road (SR) 655 (Recker Highway) over the CSX railroad crossing located just south of US 92 in Auburndale.
The purpose of this proposed project is to improve safety by separating roadway traffic, especially trucks, from train traffic and reduce travel delays by removing the need to stop traffic for trains. The proposed bridge is listed as a "cost feasible" project in the Polk Transportation Planning Organization's (TPO) Momentum 2040 Plan, the county’s long range transportation plan. A no-build alternative also is a viable alternative throughout the PD&E study process. The no-build alternative means the bridge would not be built, and only routine maintenance would be done on the highway. Recker Highway within the project limits is identified as a Regional Freight Mobility Corridor in the Tampa Bay Regional Strategic Freight Plan. The proposed project is located within a high-density industrial area and supports several major industrial and manufacturing companies.
Currently, Recker Highway within the project limits operates at an acceptable level of service. In 2014, traffic volumes averaged about 12,200 vehicles each day, with trucks about 11 percent of that total. With approximately 20 CSX trains and four AMTRAK passenger trains daily, Recker Highway experiences high levels of traffic congestion and vehicle delays from future railroad crossing. Further, there are over four times more crashes on this corridor than the state average for a similar roadway.