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Commuter Traffic in Lakeland, FL
Due to Lakeland being a popular commuter town for citizens who work in Orlando and Tampa, traffic can get heavy at times, especially during rush hour. I-4 is essentially the lifeline to Lakeland, serving as the commute to work and provides people and tourists passing through while traveling on I-4. I-4 was recently named the deadliest highway in the US, mainly due to the high volume of travelers driving on the interstate every day. During the time between 7-9 am and 4-6 pm are the heaviest times of traffic in Lakeland. Most of this traffic is clustered around the I4 entrances and exits on US 98. The average time it takes to travel from Lakeland to Orlando during rush hour is 2 hours. Due to the increasing population and travelers in Lakeland, the city has recently improved its infrastructure with several tolled roads, including Interstate 570 also known as the Polk Parkway. This system provides easier access to Interstate 4 from Polk County cities including Winter Haven, Bartow, Auburndale, and South Lakeland. The parkway served as one of Lakeland and Polk County’s best traffic improvements. The toll expressway was a part of the turnpike expansion program and opened to the public in 1996. Future plans are in the works to alleviate congestion between travelers and commuters by extending the Polk Parkway down to Southwest Florida, including areas such as Ft. Myers. Traffic in Lakeland in areas other than near Interstate 4 is often low to moderate. Residential roads and even the downtown areas have relatively moderate traffic but can sometimes be congested during rush hour times when commuters are heading to and from work. US 98 is a popular route for semi-trucks heading to and from Lakeland to Dade City, but rarely is there traffic on US 98 other than near the Interstate 4 corridor.