The new PortMiami tunnel’s opening is delayed until mid-June

 
 
Gov. Rick Scott and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera speak at the ceremonial dedication of the newly completed PortMiami Tunnel on Monday, May 19, 2014.
Gov. Rick Scott and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera speak at the ceremonial dedication of the newly completed PortMiami Tunnel on Monday, May 19, 2014.
C.M. GUERRERO / EL NUEVO HERALD STAFF
WEB VOTE Are you surprised the PortMiami Tunnel will not be ready to open on time?

icordle@MiamiHerald.com

The PortMiami tunnel’s opening to traffic has been delayed until mid-June while the $1 billion project awaits a certificate of occupancy for its operations control center, additional testing and fire-safety approvals.

The project’s contractor, Bouygues, is being charged $115,000 a day for the delay — beginning on the day of the tunnel’s dedication, May 19 — which could add up to $3 million.

“Our tunnel was physically complete last week but the devil is in the details,” said Christopher Hodgkins, vice president of Miami Access Tunnel, the multinational consortium that built the tunnel and will manage and maintain it for the next three decades. “Now we have to make sure all of our safety issues are addressed.”

The tunnel’s 91 cameras, 44 jet fans, infrared sensor system and other high-technology devices all need to be integrated and coordinated from the operations control center on Dodge Island, which is awaiting its occupancy certificate, Hodgkins said.

Then, after an intensive fire drill and approval from the state’s fire marshal, the tunnel can open to vehicular traffic, he said. The latest delays were first reported Wednesday by Miami Today.

“We’ve been working for 55 months on all these scenarios for safety,” Hodgkins said.

Once open, the tunnel will be staffed 24/7 by 30 operations personnel with equipment to clear tunnel accidents and keep traffic moving, Hodgkins said.

The tunnel, which was dedicated last week by Gov. Rick Scott, Miami-Dade County and Miami city officials, will become the first direct link for cargo trucks from expressways to the port.

Once the tunnel is open, cars and trucks will be able to enter it from the eastbound MacArthur Causeway on Watson Island and emerge at the port, between the cargo harbor and the cruise ship terminals. Until then, vehicles heading to the port must continue to drive through heavily trafficked downtown Miami.

Read more Miami-Dade stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category