Hillsborough County transferred jurisdiction of W. Johnson Rd. from James L. Redman Pkwy. to Mud Lake Rd. to the City of Plant City.
The city officially has a new road under its control after commissioners voted to approve transferring jurisdiction of W. Johnson Road from James L. Redman Parkway (SR 39) to Mud Lake Road from Hillsborough County to Plant City.
It’s a process that began back in 2016 when Plant City staff met with staff from Hillsborough County to discuss the jurisdictional conveyance of the road in question. The first housing development project in the area — Alterra — was being considered and would have required improvements to W. Johnson Rd.
As time passed and housing development projects led to more annexations into the city along W. Johnson it became clear the city should accept the ownership and thus the maintenance of the roadway, taking the pressure out of the county’s hands to keep it up to date.
“It’s been going on for a while, basically it was just an agreement because of some of the issues like it being in and out of the city, you’ve got development occurring in parts of it that are in the city and then they were looking for an opportunity to turn over a road and that one was a great place for us to start that partnership,” McDaniel said. “It was just increasingly becoming a part of the city.”
Prior to the transfer the county brought everything up to the highest standards along the road. The road was repaved and ditches, swales and stormwater conveyances were cleaned up. Some driveways even required some drainage pipes to be replaced. County staff also prepared right-of-way maps for the roadway. It was “essentially a brand new road,” according to McDaniel.
McDaniel said this was a great example of the working relationship between the city and Hillsborough County. It is the first transfer of this nature that he can remember, but he doubts it will be the last. Like with the growing development along the road, McDaniel said there will be times where “it just makes sense” for the city to have to take over the care and upkeep of the road.
The city has had similar partnerships with the state on road swaps as it did most recently with turning control of Alexander Street over to the Florida Department of Transportation and taking control of Collins Street.
Planning for upcoming changes and being aware of what the future will hold helps the city, county and the state know how best to manage their corresponding roadways.
“Things have changed a lot in a relatively short period of time so as Collins Street transformed and became more urban and more part of the city it only made sense to move the state road over and create basically the bypass they have done,” McDaniel said. “You run into these situations and you have to be openminded and address them.”