The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is committed to preserving the legacy of Florida’s rural communities. A recent FDOT project in Northeast Florida is helping the state’s growing supply chain while providing relief for motorists in the small town of Starke.
Located in Bradford County, Starke has a population of approximately 5,370, according to the 2017 U.S. Census. However, because of its location along U.S. 301 – a heavily traveled and integral part of Florida’s State Highway System – Starke has been challenged with congestion due to the approximately 25,000 vehicles per day that travel on the roadway.
FDOT, the City of Starke, and Bradford County began discussions more than 20 years ago on how to support Starke’s growth and manage rising traffic levels. The chosen course was to construct a truck route on the west side of the city that would alleviate congestion by pulling semi-trucks off of U.S. 301, freeing local motorists and residents from the bottleneck in town.
The $70 million project began in fall 2016 and was completed in fall 2019. The results were felt almost immediately – after only one month of being open, an FDOT traffic study found that there was a 91 percent reduction of heavy truck traffic traveling through downtown Starke. Because residents and visitors can efficiently travel through town, local businesses are also seeing a positive impact.
As Florida continues to change and evolve, this completed project will continue to provide an easier commute for both local residents and travelers, as well as support the economic growth projected within the state.