Gov. Rick Scott plans to dedicate the tunnel at 10 a.m. Monday, although regular traffic will not be allowed for several more days while workers perform final tests. Chris Hodgkins, vice president of Miami Access Tunnel, said that everything looks okay to go. Miami Access Tunnel, the multinational consortium that built the tunnel and will manage and maintain it for the next three decades. The tunnel’s dedication and subsequent opening to traffic mark the completion of one of the most expensive and elaborate transportation projects in South Florida history.
Port of Miami tunnel firstly reached commercial close at June 2009. Shortly afterwards, it receives a go ahead on Oct 2009 and began it’s construction on May 2010. And after 4 years of construction, it’s finally going to be open today, May 19th, 2014.
The Port of Miami Tunnel project is a highly complex project which is being built through a public-private partnership (PPP or P3) that includes the design, build, finance, operation and maintenance of said project. It is a 35-year concession agreement between the Florida Department of Transportation (Owner) and MAT Concessionaire, LLC (Concessionaire), which includes 55 months for design and construction being carried out by Bouygues Civil Works Florida (BCWF).
With nearly 16,000 vehicles travel to and from the Port of Miami (POM) through downtown streets each weekday, this tunnel will surely come in handy to provide a direct connection from the Port of Miami to highways via Watson Island to I-395 and also at the same time it will make downtown streets safer by reducing congestion on downtown streets.
The total cost of design and construction of the tunnel is set at $663 million. The state has agreed to pay for 50 percent of the capital costs (design, construction) and all of the operations and maintenance, while the remaining 50 percent of the capital costs will be provided by Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami.
Nearly a hundred cameras will watch over every inch of the tunnel and be monitored 24-hours a day, seven days a week from a master control room. If a truck stops in the middle of the tunnel, if a pedestrian comes into the tunnel, if a bicycle comes into the tunnel, we will immediately dispatch our response team to handle the situation, said Chris Hodgkins, vice-president of the firm managing the public/private consortium that made the $1 billion feat a reality.
The tunnel is also lined with infra-red sensors that can detect a wide variety of potential problems and sound alarms alerting tunnel operators. If a truck approaches, sensors will detect if it is over the height limit. If it is, it will not be allowed to enter.