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“Council Member’s Mistake” Halts Port Tunnel Boring Ceremony

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Port Tunnel Boring Machine 14
maggieheadshot Maggie Newland
Maggie Newland is a reporter at CBS4. She arrived at the station ...
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MIAMI (CBS4) – A ceremony celebrating the construction of the Port of Miami Tunnel is cancelled after what’s being called a “council member’s mistake.”

The ceremony was supposed to take place at the construction site where the tunnel boring machine is located.

The machine is four stories tall as long as a football field and it will bore through ground under water to create the Port of Miami Tunnel.

The boring was set to start next week with a ceremony kicking it off Friday morning.

Project manager Christopher Hodgkins says the project was scheduled around Governor Rick Scott coming to Miami.

“I think he was excited because it’s 2,600 jobs,” said Hodgkins.

Hundreds of workers and public officials were also supposed to attend.

Hodgkins told CBS4’s Maggie Newland that people were flying in from all over the world, not just the United States.

Thursday, a three page document stopped the much anticipated celebration planned for Friday cancelling the event, just a day before it was to begin.

Hodgkins was forced to postpone.

“We stopped everything in its tracks,” said Hodgkins. “We do not want to move an inch without all the proper environmental permits.”

The motion by the Village of Key Biscayne cites environmental concerns and asks the state of Florida for extra time to decide whether to challenge the permit to build the tunnel.

CBS 4 spoke with Mayor Frank Caplan Thursday.

“This was news to me, this was news to our entire council with the exception of one council member who had put this into action on his own,” said Caplan.

Caplan says the village has never tried to stop the project and other council members weren’t aware councilman Mike Davey had asked the village lawyers to file the document.  Mayor Caplan says that should not have happened.

Davey apologized with a letter to his fellow council members.

The letter by Davey stated, “I should never have instructed the Village attorney to do anything without the approval of council for that I am truly sorry.”

Late Thursday, Key Biscayne withdrew the motion and will not challenge the permit.

That made Hodgkins happier.

“We’re elated to hear the Village of Key Biscayne says, in fact, they were wrong we’re going to withdraw that that’s big of them to do that we appreciate that it does not stop this project we’re going forward,” He said.

The ceremony to mark the start of the boring project was already cancelled and will not take place Friday morning.

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