This week, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the completion of the Old Tamiami Trail Roadbed Removal Project, which was completed six months ahead of schedule.
This Everglades restoration project helped remove almost six miles of roadbed from the Old Tamiami Trail to allow more water to naturally flow south into Everglades National Park. In March of this year, DeSantis announced the groundbreaking of the project, which was expected to be completed in January 2022.
This project is a component of the larger Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP), which also includes the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir Project. CEPP will help deliver additional clean water from Lake Okeechobee south to Water Conservation Area 3, Everglades National Park and Florida Bay.
“Sending more clean water south is essential to furthering Everglades restoration and protecting the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries from harmful discharges,” said DeSantis. “Since day one, my administration has been focused on expediting key Everglades restoration and water quality projects to protect Florida’s natural resources for future generations, and I’m proud of our record-setting progress.”
“Our administration has been focused on restoring the Everglades for generations of Floridians to enjoy,” said Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez. “As a South Floridian, I am proud that we have all come together to recognize how important this is, and I look forward to working with the Water Management District, DEP, FWC and all of our partners to continue completing these projects at a record pace.”
“I’m proud to stand here with Governor DeSantis and our partners to celebrate another important accomplishment for the Everglades,” said “Alligator Ron” Bergeron, a governing board member of the South Florida Water Management District. “Our completion of the Old Tamiami Trail Roadbed Removal Project means more water can flow south and help reestablish the natural flow of water from the Northern Everglades all the way down to Florida Bay. We’re going to continue to do even more to finish projects, expedite Everglades restoration, and improve water quality – all thanks to the leadership of Governor DeSantis.”
“Today marks another milestone in the state’s efforts to accelerate restoration of the South Florida ecosystem and deliver long overdue benefits to Floridians throughout the region. The Tamiami Roadbed Removal Project will improve water quality, support sending more water south and reduce harmful estuary discharges,” said DEP Interim Sec. Shawn Hamilton. “Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, DEP and the South Florida Water Management District remain committed to expediting key Everglades restoration projects.”
“Removing the Old Tamiami Trail roadbed is a critical step in helping us restore the flow of freshwater south into the Everglades and Florida Bay,” said Eric Eikenberg, President of The Everglades Foundation. “For a long time, Florida held a lot more ground-breakings than ribbon-cuttings. But, under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis and the South Florida Water Management District, we have been celebrating project completions that are making a real difference in our environment and our clean water economy.”
Old Tamiami Trail is a historic highway that was built across the Everglades to connect Tampa and Miami in the early 1900s. By removing the roadbed, the project helps restore the ecologically important sheet flow of water south through the Everglades. The roadbed removal is expected to increase the flow of clean freshwater into the Northeast Shark River Slough area of the park by more than 220 billion gallons per year.