Tamiami Trail Bridge opens

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EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, Fla. - The Tamiami Trail Bridge, a 1.1 mile elevated stretch of bridge allowing the natural flow of water from north to south in Everglades National Park, opened Tuesday.

PHOTOS: Tamiami Trail Bridge

The $81 million bridge, adjacent to the northern boundary of Everglades National Park, is part of the largest construction project in the history of the National Park Service. It will increase water flow by 92 percent over current levels to Northeast Shark River Slough and rehydrate and restore the 104,000-acre east Everglades portion of Everglades National Park, which Congress added to the park in 1989, all the way down to Florida Bay.

Raising the trail to 14-feet is the first step and a key step to Everglades restoration, as it allows the replenishment of the swath of glades left dry, its wildlife dying, by the ribbon of asphalt that is Tamiami Trail.

The project began in 1989 when Congress passed the Everglades Expansion and Protection Act.

READ: Obama administration's "Restoring America's Everglades" report |

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