Miami Herald | EDITORIAL

Name that tunnel

 

OUR OPINION: The PortMiami Tunnel needs a fitting moniker — let’s give it one.

 
Workers install panels in the interior walls of the eastbound PortMiami Tunnel as opening day nears.
Workers install panels in the interior walls of the eastbound PortMiami Tunnel as opening day nears.
JOSE A. IGLESIAS / EL NUEVO HERALD

HeraldEd@MiamiHerald.com

Come May, a project resembling the Eighth Wonder of the World will be unveiled along Biscayne Bay.

Or we should say, under it.

The PortMiami Tunnel, the four-year private-public endeavor that required thousands of hours to make a reality, will finally be totally excavated, cemented and ready for vehicle traffic under the Intracoastal Waterway — extending from the MacArthur Causeway to the port and its cruise and cargo ships.

The tunnel’s price tag: More than $1 billion.

As with any newborn, the only thing left to do is, well, christen it.

But what would be an appropriate name for such a game-changing project? Since it broke ground in May 2010, the tunnel has been known simply as the PortMiami Tunnel.

What a bland name for our dynamic city and our only tunnel. Even the boring machine that helped excavate the earth beneath the bay had a nickname, Harriet, a moniker given to it by Miami-Dade Girl Scouts.

The tunnel is worthy, too.

So who or what deserves the honor of having their name plastered at the entrances?

In the past, Miami-Dade and municipal officials have erred by naming streets and parks after living people, later embarrassed when an honoree suffered a downfall. The decision-makers should steer clear of this route.

Here’s a suggestion from Chris Hodgkins, vice president for MAT Concessionaire LLC, the project’s contractor, also known as Miami Access Tunnel. The other partners are Florida Department of Transportation, Miami-Dade, Miami and Bouygues S.A.

“When coming up with a name, we must keep in mind that this tunnel was built by the people of Miami and Miami-Dade,” said Hodgkins, who liked the idea of posing the challenge to the public. “We know that 83 percent of the workers are local residents. We want to get the message out that this is an organic tunnel project.”

So with that guidance in mind, let’s get started.

The Miami Herald Opinion Page is launching a campaign to come up with a fitting name for the tunnel. This will be more of an exercise in the community’s creativity. We can’t guarantee that the powers-that-be will use our readers’ suggestions, but Hodgkins said they’ll take a look at the entries.

If you have a hankering for cruise ship names, Tunnel Under the Seas might do.

For South Florida history buffs, how about The Flagler Tunnel or the Julia Tuttle Tunnel? Same old, same old?

Here's an idea. The tunnel, like stadiums, could get a corporate sponsor that would finance its upkeep, giving local taxpayers a break.

Other cities already have Busch Stadium, Minute Maid Park, MetLife Stadium and Heinz Field.

How about: The Bacardi Tunnel, the Dolphins Tunnel, the Carnival Cruise Lines Tunnel?

Send us your ideas to HeraldEd@MiamiHerald.com, and we will publish them and then present your suggestions to tunnel executives.

Let’s give this new baby a fitting name.

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