A long-awaited Everglades restoration construction project began in February on the western section of the Tamiami Trail in Miami-Dade County, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced.

The Tamiami Trail project includes constructing a 1-mile bridge, and raising and reinforcing an additional 9.7 miles of road. The bridge will allow water to flow without obstruction into Everglades National Park. Because sheet flow is essential to the health and viability of the Everglades, initiation of this project represents an advancement for the South Florida ecosystem restoration program.

Kiewit Southern Co. of Sunrise, Fla., is the contractor for the $81-million project. The Corps of Engineers indicated that most of the road work will be performed at night to reduce impacts to traffic.

The projected completion of the bridge and road-raising construction is 2013.

“Tamiami Trail currently acts as a dam that starves the Park of its lifeblood—water,” stated Dan Kimball, superintendent of Everglades National Park. “The bridge and roadway modifications will not only supply much needed water to imperiled wildlife and vegetation in the Park, but they will also result in ecosystem restoration benefits to the greater Everglades.”