Dear Friends and Neighbors of Everglades National Park:
On June 3, 2019, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced it will grant $60 million to Everglades National Park through the Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects program to complete Phase 2 of the Tamiami Trail Next Steps project.
Completion of the Tamiami Trail project will remove a 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 in November 2018 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. The increased water volumes and improved flow distributions will re-establish seasonal water depths and flooding durations that are critical to the survival of many fish and wildlife species, including the federally endangered Wood Stork, Everglades Snail Kite, and Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow, and state listed Roseate Spoonbill.
The NPS, FHWA, and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) began 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.
The NPS completed the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Tamiami Trail Modifications: Next Steps Project in 2010 and the Record of Decision was signed in 2011. The preferred plan identified in the FEIS and ROD was to add 5.5 miles of bridging to the 1-mile eastern bridge then under construction and raise the balance of the 10.7-mile highway corridor (Alternative 6e in the FEIS). The one-mile bridge was completed in 2014 and 2.3 miles of Next Steps Phase 1 bridging were completed in April 2019.
In July 2018, the NPS sponsored an inter-agency Value Analysis workshop to reassess the project to determine the most environmentally responsible and cost effective Phase 2 plan to meet the Next Steps Project's purpose, need and objectives. The Phase 2 Recommended Plan from the VA workshop includes no additional bridging beyond the 3.3 miles of existing bridges, replacing 2.8 miles of proposed bridges with six 72 ft. wide prefabricated culverts, elevating the remaining roadway, adding swales for water quality treatment, and replacing the remaining culverts in-kind. These changes meet the project's purpose and need, and its hydrologic and ecological objectives.
A December 2018 environmental analysis of the Phase 2 Plan determined that impacts to natural and cultural resources will be the same or less than the original plan, construction costs will be lowered by $118 million, and the construction duration will be shortened by 1.5 years. The NPS adopted the revised Phase 2 Plan with a Memorandum to File signed in December 2018. The compliance documents for this project are available in the Documents List at the left side of this page.
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: https://www.nps.gov/articles/tamiami-trial-next-steps.htm
Everglades National Park
Tamiami Trail Next Steps Project
40001 State Road 9336
Homestead, FL 33034-6733
For further information, contact:
Robert Johnson at 305-224-4240