June 2019 – Everglades National Park announced this month that it had secured 100% of the funding needed to elevate another 6.5 miles of the Tamiami Trail roadway that divides the Everglades, north from south, and blocks the flow of water into the park. Once complete, the new roadwork will allow much needed water to flow south into the park. Read the park’s announcement below
Everglades National Park Receives Funding for Tamiami Trail to Restore Water Flow
Homestead, Fla. – On June 3, 2019, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced that they will be granting $60 million to Everglades National Park through the Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects program to complete the Tamiami Trail Next Steps project.
Completion of the Tamiami Trail project will remove the water flow impediment into Everglades National Park, address a key regional water flow imbalance and sustain a critical transportation link between Southwest Florida and Miami.
This federal highway funding will match a $43.5 million commitment announced last November by then Governor Rick Scott, and subsequently fully supported by Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislation. The combined $100 million federal and state funding will provide for the raising and reconstruction of the remaining 6.5 miles of the eastern Tamiami Trail roadway to allow the water to flow into the park. The park has been deprived of its fresh water for many decades and this project will allow water managers to significantly increase water flows rehydrating the 1.5 million acres of park lands, including Florida Bay.
“Projects like this one are made possible by the full cooperation and collaboration between federal and state agencies. We are very fortunate to have the strong support from our partners in the State of Florida, as well as many members of the Florida delegation who have supported this project from the beginning.” said Everglades National Park Superintendent Pedro Ramos.
The NPS, FHWA, and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will begin the preliminary design process in June 2019. FDOT is expected to issue the design/build contract by the middle of 2020, and full project completion is anticipated by early 2023.
Previous Tamiami Trail improvement projects included the one-mile eastern bridge completed in 2014 and the 2.3 miles of western bridges completed in April 2019. This project will once and for all complete 100% of the work required on the Tamiami Trail before water can fully flow from the northern part of the system.
Tamiami Trail, a historic roadway connecting Tampa and Miami, has long been recognized as a barrier that restricts water flows into Everglades National Park. This final Tamiami Trail Next Steps project will work in combination with the Central Everglades Planning Project to enhance the connectivity and sheetflow between the marshes north and south of the Tamiami Trail.
To learn more about the importance of restoring water across Tamiami Trail for Everglades Restoration, see here: https://www.nps.gov/articles/tamiami-trial-next-steps.htm