Florida’s first-ever privately owned toll road is now open to public traffic. The new Orchard Pond Parkway is a westward extension of Bannerman Road between Meridian and Old Bainbridge roads.
During Monday’s (4/18) grand opening ceremonies, northeastern Leon County District Commissioner John Dailey said there’s a big question facing local governments at all levels:
“How do we tackle unique infrastructure projects with the demand that we have with our growth, but also with the limited budgets that we have?”
One answer, Dailey said, is the new Orchard Pond Parkway. It’s owned by the Phipps family and is the brainchild of Jeff Phipps. He said protecting the wetland environment over which the highway extends was key in the road’s construction.
“There’s 120 acres in the project roughly, and we’ve only had four acres of wetland impact,” he said. “Normally, you’d have about forty acres.”
The Parkway extends just over five miles and starting May first, each trip will cost SunPass holders$1.19. Motorists without SunPass will pay $1.69 plus a monthly fee. Total cost of the project was around $18 million, of which about $13.5 million came from Florida Department of Transportation funding.