Workers have begun paving the twin roadways inside the Port of Miami Tunnel under Biscayne Bay, the Miami Herald reported. They also have begun constructing the massive tunnel portals, with 50-ton metal gates that will close in case of a hurricane to prevent flooding.
A giant tunnel boring machine began digging the eastbound tube in November 2011 from the MacArthur Causeway at Watson Island to the port. The tunnel boring machine, nicknamed Harriet, completed digging the westbound tube back to Watson Island in May 2013.
The tunnel will be the first direct road connection between the port and local expressways.
Currently, traffic from the port has to travel congested streets to reach I-95 and S.R. 836. When the tunnel is open, traffic will be able to reach I-95 and S.R. 836 via the tunnel and the MacArthur Causeway.
“By the end of May, we will have substantially completed the only tunnel going to a port in the United States from a major interstate,” said Chris Hodgkins, vice president of Miami Access Tunnel, the multinational company building the tunnel. The tunnel will run to the cargo area and cruise terminal area without traffic signals, Hodgkins said.