An almost 3-mile bridge proposed over Everglades

Workers oppose building of bridge

MIAMI – Tamiami Trail is known as one of the most prominent dams blocking the natural flow of water in the River of Grass, and since 1928 it has been a buffer between Lake Okeechobee and the southern Everglades.

Even on a rainy Labor Day, the Everglades Safari Park is filled with tourists looking for a thrill on the water, and an education in ecology and the environment, but not everyone is entertained.

"We're a little worried we might not exist here in the future, in the near future," said Joso Novo, Everglades Safari Park Manager.

Workers at the 10-acre park are concerned about plans to build an almost 3-mile bridge right over the property.

Governor Rick Scott has already proposed $90 million to help lift part of Tamiami Trail.

"We definitely don't want to be under the bridge," said tour guide George Koci. "If it comes over this park, it could ruin everything for us, all of us, not just me."

Workers worry about losing their jobs, while the family owners since 1968 are troubled that the bridge will sacrifice some of the 200,000 tourists that come to visit the park annually.

Even locals aren't sold on a second bridge building in the Everglades.

"Before the benefits arrive, you have tremendous complications," said Oswaldo Herrera, someone who is worried about the bridge.

"To build a bridge here, I don't think it's a good idea. It's better to leave it as natural as it is," said Ender Yari, one person who is against building the bridge.

But aside from blueprints and proposed budgets, nothing is set in stone.

If everything is approved at the state and federal level, construction could be finished on the nearly $200 million project by 2017.

About the Author:

Jacey Birch anchors Local 10 News Mornings each weekday from 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. She is also proud to be the animal advocate for Local 10's investigative team.