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PortMiami Tunnel Opening Delayed

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After decades of planning, four years of construction, and a dedication ceremony to boot, the PortMiami tunnel will not be opening on time. The opening to traffic has been delayed until mid-June.

According to CBS4 News partner The Miami Herald, the $1 billion project is waiting for 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.

The operations control center on Dodge Island is the brain of the project and runs the tunnel’s 91 cameras, 44 jet fans, infrared sensor system and other high-technology devices. The infrared sensors 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.

Once the occupancy certificate is issued, the tunnel and its personnel with undergo an intensive fire drill which must get approval from the state’s fire marshal. After that, the tunnel can open to vehicular traffic,

The tunnel project consisted of three components: twin tunnels under Government Cut, connections to PortMiami’s roadway system and widening of the MacArthur Causeway Bridge widening, realignment of eastbound State Road A1A/MacArthur Causeway lanes and reconstruction of Parrot Jungle Trail frontage road.

Once opened, the tunnel will improve access to and from the port, serving as a dedicated roadway linking the port with the MacArthur Causeway and I-395.  Approximately 16,000 cars and trucks a day will have direct access to the port, without having to jam the streets of downtown Miami as they do now.

The tunnel will be staffed 24-hours a day by 30 operations personnel with equipment to clear tunnel accidents and keep traffic moving.

PortMiami is among America’s busiest ports and recognized across the globe with the dual distinction of being the Cruise Capital of the World and the Cargo Gateway of the Americas. PortMiami contributes more than $27 billion annually to the South Florida economy.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)

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