Expect delays: PortMiami Tunnel remains closed

Leaky pipes, exhaust fan issues among infrastructure problems dogging roadway
June 18, 2014 02:30PM

PortMiami Tunnel

PortMiami’s billion-dollar tunnel beneath Biscayne Bay opened one month ago — and not one car has passed through it.

As traffic continues to clog the streets of downtown Miami, the state of Florida is grappling with a series of infrastructure problems that have left the tunnel’s operation in limbo. Since its ceremonial opening a month ago, the PortMiami Tunnel has suffered numerous setbacks, like a leaky pipe that pumps rainwater and other spillage out of the tunnel. Two of 44 giant exhaust fans have been put out of use by unexpectedly heavy vibrations, and several bolts that secure those fans to the ceiling failed to live up to torque standards.

Gus Pego, the senior Florida Department of Transportation official in Miami-Dade County, told the Miami Herald the tunnel’s contract was supposed to be completed May 19, and that “we were fully expecting to open it then.”

According to the Miami Herald, the tunnel’s delayed opening has cost its Paris-based contractor Bouygues more than $3 million, with $115,000 in penalties each day. With all the problems, the state has yet to write a check for the $34 million annual fee required to open the tunnel for public use. [Miami Herald] -Kerry Barger