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.

(©2011 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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)

Comments (6)
  1. Roger Keith says:

    Let me get this straight. Take away dollars from senior programs, parks, and community events to bore a tunnel to ease traffic? It seems that Miami has its priorities mixed up! More hard earned tax dollars going to waste. Once again a great example of big business over thousands of unemployed in the surrounding areas of Miami.

  2. Suz says:

    What a joke, Miami once again proves to be the idiot center of the world. Thia tunnel is NOT needed.

  3. SFJ says:

    It stinks nothing will ever change, always money, influence and power take over this city as usual.

  4. JP says:

    Build by French builder with German equipment way to go lets send even more money out to Europe or Chinese this will realy stimulate economy

  5. Pancho Via says:

    $45 Million who pays that bill? Is it a rental we can return and what about the 1200 Mexicans hired to dig where do they go?

  6. J Pacheco says:

    it will interesting to watch a video of the supposed traffic jams and congestion created by trucks exiting the port. If there were such a thing, truckers will be the ones helped by the tunnel while all of us pay for it.
    Some people have even mentioned that this whole deal, as well as the one for the new stadium, seems to be a project espoused by politicians anxious to benefit from kickbacks!

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