The connection between Florida’s Turnpike and I-95 could cost $231 million


MARTIN COUNTY – A project costing up to $231 million would connect Interstate 95 and Florida’s Turnpike in southern Martin County, making it easier for motorists to travel between the two highways.

The Florida Department of Transportation is already studying the concept and will present details to the Martin County Commission on Tuesday.

But there is “no plan for an additional exit” from the turnpike in Martin County, said Troy McDonald, Stuart city commissioner and chairman of the policy board for the Martin Metropolitan Planning Organization, which coordinates transportation improvements in the county.

Drivers already have two interchanges they can go to between I-95 and the toll road, north of Martin County — at Okeechobee Road in St. Lucie County — and to the south, at West Indiantown Road in Palm Beach County.

Officials with the Florida Turnpike Enterprise, which operates the toll road and is managing the investigation, did not respond to requests for more information.

A direct connection would increase safety and provide an additional connection between the highways; assisting residents during emergency evacuations; and emergency responders, according to the Florida Turnpike Enterprise.

Local politicians have heard something different. The proposed connection between the freeway and the turnpike would be intended to alleviate congestion on West Indiantown Road in Jupiter, where motorists can travel between I-95 and the turnpike, said Harold Jenkins, chairman of the Martin County Commission and McDonald .

Two proposals are being studied. Each would provide four direct connections between the highways, while one would require modifications to the I-95 ramps at Bridge Road.

More: Changes are coming to Martin County’s rural land use, and the 3,900-acre project is coming along

More: Stuart postpones vote on proposed rehabilitation center; support during the committee meeting appears to be growing

One proposal would cost $156 million, while the proposal requiring the changes could cost $231 million. Motorists can currently only use Bridge Road to get on and off I-95, but there is no toll road access there.

Public meetings on the two proposals are scheduled for July. One will be in-person and the other virtual, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.

This story will be updated.

Keith Burbank is TCPalm’s watchdog reporter covering Martin County. He can be reached at [email protected] or at 720-288-6882.