Water flowing over the land where a road was removed.

Old Tamiami Trail Removal Design


Our Client’s Challenge

In 1928, the promise of progress and exploration drew adventurous travelers to the newly opened Tamiami Trail, a two-lane road stretching down Florida’s west coast from Tampa to the top of the Everglades National Park, where it turned east to Miami. The 260-mile route took 13 years to construct, requiring millions of sticks of dynamite and thousands of laborers working in sweltering conditions. Once complete, it ushered drivers coast-to-coast across Florida’s wilderness, throwing open the doors to tourism in South Florida.

The road was considered an engineering marvel at the time, but paving a path across the Everglades proved to have immediate and long-lasting environmental consequences. The road effectively formed a barrier between a 900-square-mile conservation area and the Everglades, preventing the critical southern flow of clean water from Lake Okeechobee and disrupting the ecosystem’s delicate hydrology.

In 2020, the National Park Service, South Florida Water Management District, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers joined efforts to remove the road’s remains and restore water flow to the Everglades and Florida Bay. The Tamiami Trail roadbed removal project is a component of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, a suite of projects aimed at restoring, protecting, and preserving the greater Everglades ecosystem.

Our Solution

As the engineer of record, Gannett Fleming designed the removal and excavation of a 5.7-mile segment of the Tamiami Trail, now abandoned and called the Old Tamiami Trail. Stripping the crumbling asphalt and road base down to the natural topographical elevation aids in reestablishing the natural sheet flow of water, allowing more than 220 billion gallons of water per year into the Shark River Slough at the northern boundary of the Everglades.

Before and after photos show how the road’s path was transformed from crumbling asphalt to flowing water.

We designed an extensive erosion and sedimentation control plan that set the allowable turbidity at 0 nephelometry turbidity units. The plan met Florida statutes for acceptable turbidity downstream limits and recognized the Everglades’ classification as an Outstanding Florida Water and a Class III water body requiring special protection.

Snarls of invasive vegetation had taken over the road. Gannett Fleming’s design incorporated provisions to remove and properly handle the overgrown vegetation to prevent the spreading of its noxious seeds. Special measures added to the construction contract called for removing pythons that have plagued the Everglades and become detrimental to native wildlife, helping to restore the region’s biosystem.

Key Features

  • Removal of 5.7 miles of unused roads, bridges, and culverts.
  • Removal of invasive species like Brazilian pepper trees and pythons.
  • Rigorous erosion control and sedimentation plan.


  • Fresh water flows south into the Everglades and Florida Bay, aiding in the restoration of the Everglades.
  • Invasive overgrown vegetation and wildlife removal helps rehabilitate the biosystem.
  • Restoring regional ecology helps protect Florida’s natural resources for future generations.
  • The project was completed six months ahead of schedule.

Awards & Recognition

  • Awards. This web part is hidden.


South Florida Water Management District


Miami-Dade County, Fla.


Engineering, Design, Construction Oversight

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