Snake Road is the main access road for the Big Cypress Reservation. In the past ten years Snake Road has had a high number of accidents. Between 1997 and 2001, there were over 74 accidents reported, resulting in 46 injuries, 6 deaths, and more than $400,000 in damage. The existing roadway has two ten-foot lanes with basically no shoulders. Out of the 34 curves that exist in the Snake Road corridor, only one meets the standards for the 45 miles-per-hour speed limit. With the very narrow travel way, no guard railing and little grading on the curves, this is a very dangerous road.
In 1991 the Bureau of Indian Affairs hired a consultant to conduct a study on Snake Road located in southern Florida. The report outlined the existing conditions, future developments, and funding issues associated with $18,000,000 in needed improvements. The Seminole Tribe approached the Bureau of Indian Affairs only to find that funding was not available. At this point the project sat idle for about twelve years until the Seminole tribe resurrected its proposal and approached the Federal Highway Administration in Florida and the Bureau.
In October of 2002 the first meeting was held at the Seminole Tribal Headquarters in Hollywood, Florida. Representatives from the Seminole Tribe, Miccosukee Tribe, Federal Highway Administration, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Florida Department of Transportation and Hendry and Broward Counties participated.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida asked the Florida Department of Transportation to study Snake Road. In January 2003 they completed the study giving options to improve the safety and traffic operating conditions of Snake Road.
From the coordinating organizations and the congressional support, funding for the immediate improvements totals $1,100,000. The contributors for this project are:
- Federal Lands Appropriation $455,000
- Florida Department of Transportation $350,000
- Bureau of Indian Affairs $195,000
- Indian Health Service $100,000
This is an effective partnership because of the coordination efforts of the Seminole Tribe and the partners' common goal of making the road safer for everyone and preventing further injuries or deaths. The accidents on Snake Road should decrease substantially after the immediate improvements are completed.