U.S. 17 North - Punta Gorda to Lake Alfred

U.S. 17 North
U.S. 17 enters Polk County north of Bowling Green, and the first city in Polk County is Fort Meade. The downtown area of Fort Meade is a historical district in accordance with this brown sign found on northbound. Photo taken 11/18/03.
U.S. 17/Florida 35 approaches U.S. 98 in Fort Meade. This junction sign for U.S. 98 is a few blocks south of the intersection (U.S. 17 is Charleston Avenue and U.S. 98 is Broadway; Broadway changes into Polk County 630 west of Fort Meade) in Fort Meade. U.S. 17-98 will remain combined until Bartow, where U.S. 98/Florida 35 turn northwest toward Lakeland, while U.S. 17/Florida 555 continue north toward Lake Alfred. Florida 555 is the secret state designation for U.S. 17 between Bartow and Lake Alfred. At Lake Alfred, U.S. 17 continues northeast along with U.S. 92 and Florida 600. Photo taken 11/18/03.
Even though U.S. 98 is an east-west route between Fort Meade and Frostproof (U.S. 27, about 15 miles east of Fort Meade), it is signed north-south for the entire 15 mile route. However, between Fort Meade and Perry (split with U.S. 27 and U.S. 221), it is signed north-south, and deservedly so, since U.S. 98 makes significant north-south progress while connecting Perry in Taylor County with Palm Beach in Palm Beach County. Polk County 630, meanwhile, travels due west from Fort Meade to Brewster, where it ends at its junction with Florida 37. A continuing route west to Interstate 75 in Hillsborough County is afforded via Florida 37 south to Florida 674 west to Sun City Center. Photo taken 11/18/03.
The next city along northbound is Bartow. U.S. 17-98 follow Holland Parkway through Bartow, and the combined route approaches Business Florida 60 (Main Street), one of the few bannered state roads in Florida. The business route follows the original alignment of Florida 60, while Florida 60 now travels on a bypass route. Photo taken 11/18/03.
Northeast of Bartow and Eagle Lake, U.S. 17 (North Bear Branch Road) approaches Florida 540, an east-west route that connects to Florida 655 between Eagle Lake and Winter Haven. Photo taken 11/18/03.
U.S. 17 meets Florida 540 at Cameron Road, which travels west over the railroad tracks to meet Florida 655 (Eagle Lake Road). After Florida 655, Florida 540 meets Cooley Road, then proceeds west toward Lakeland. Florida 540 follows Winter Lake Road en route to Toll Florida 570/Polk Parkway. Note the orange groves to the right (east) of U.S. 17/Florida 555. Photo taken 11/18/03.
Now entering Winter Haven, northbound U.S. 17/Florida 555 follows Third Street SW parallel to the railroad tracks. Here, northbound U.S. 17 approaches Florida 542/West Central Avenue, which travels east to Lake Elbert, Polk County Community College, and Dundee. Florida 542 ends in Dundee at Florida 17 (former U.S. 27 Alternate at the intersection of Main Street and Center Street). Photo taken 11/18/03.

Page Updated February 23, 2005.

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