MIAMI (CBS4) – Construction of the new Port of Miami tunnel will take a giant leap forward this afternoon with the arrival of a giant machine that will bore the tunnel.
The machine is scheduled to arrive at the Port of Miami on aboard a cargo ship from Germany around 5:30 p.m.
The huge boring machine, longer than a football field and about as tall as a four-story building, will arrive in parts. Crews will assemble it over the next few months at Watson Island. Once assembled, the machine will weigh more than 2,500 tons.
Construction of the $45 million machine marks the biggest phase of the $1 billion tunnel project before actual boring begins. The tunnel will consist of two tubes featuring two lanes each.
The project is supposed to ease traffic congestion from cargo trucks heading to the Port of Miami.
Boring beneath Government Cut in Biscayne Bay is expected to begin in October. Construction is expected to be complete by May of 2014.
There is some controversy, however, concerning the tunnel project regarding where to dump material excavated from underneath the bay. Project managers want permission to use Virginia Key or alternative sites. Environmentalists have raised objections to depositing the rocks, soil and other debris on the key, which they consider to be an environmentally sensitive site that should be a park or wildlife preserve.
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