It'll be a short ceremony, but when officials gather December 4 to mark the groundbreaking of the Tamiami Trail Bridge, they'll set in motion a construction project that should carry significant benefits for Everglades National Park. So significant, in fact, that even Interior Secretary Ken Salazar plans to be on hand for the groundbreaking.
The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. on the fourth. The project includes a one-mile bridge and other roadway modifications that will allow increased water flows to Everglades National Park. This will mark a new beginning for the park and a major milestone along the journey to restore America’s Everglades, according to National Park Service officials.
The Tamiami Trail was built in the 1920s to allow vehicle travel between Tampa and Miami, early hotspots of population growth in southern Florida. From a transportation standpoint it met that goal, but in recent years the highway has been identified as a serious threat to the health of the Everglades. The biggest problem with the Tamiami Trail isn't traffic or pollution, it's the highway itself. The elevated roadbed functions as a dike, interrupting the natural flow of fresh water southward into the Everglades. The result has been described as "the most formidable barrier to fresh water flows to northeastern Everglades National Park," and water is critical to the health of this ecosystem.
To learn more about efforts to restore the "river of grass," check out this site: http://www.evergladesplan.org/index.aspx
If you plan to attend, let officials know by calling 904-232-1953. Shuttles will be available from the S-334/356 structure on the Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41) in Miami-Dade County.