Harriet, the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) that has been digging the twin tunnels under Biscayne Bay, broke out on Watson Island on May 6, 2013 at approximately 8 am. After six months of tunneling through 4,152 feet and installing 745 rings under Dodge Island, Biscayne Bay, Watson Island and MacArthur Causeway, Harriet is finally back to her starting point. Many of project workers, project team members, media, leaders of the community as well as Mayor Carlos Gimenez and District Six Secretary Gus Pego were present at this historic moment. “This marks another major milestone in the construction of the Port of Miami Tunnel Project, the completion of the mining of the westbound tunnel. The team continues to work hard in bringing this project to fruition and we look forward to the last phase leading us to the opening to vehicular traffic in May 2014, ” says Gus Pego, District Six Secretary for the Florida Department of Transportation.
Harriet is already being dismantled, which begins the process for Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) recycling. Many electrical and mechanical parts will be sent back to the manufacturer, Herrenknecht. The rest of the material will be recycled and disposed of in the most environmentally friendly manner. Construction of the tunnel interior including lighting, traffic signage, ventilation, fireproofing, and the cross passages, the five connections that will allow passengers to go from one tunnel to the other in case of an emergency, is ongoing. The project team will continue to work with the design-build contractor during the unique ground freezing technique of two of the cross passages to ensure all goes smoothly as well as completing the widening of the MacArthur Causeway Bridge and internal roadways on Dodge Island.
All hands are on deck as we move towards the last phase of this project and soon look forward to the grand opening of the PortMiami Tunnel in May of 2014 which will provide a direct access between the seaport and highways I-395 and I-95, providing another entry to PortMiami besides the Port Bridge and thereby keeping PortMiami, the community’s second largest economic generator, competitive.