Opening ceremony held for PortMiami tunnel

New tunnel connects MacArthur Causeway to Dodge Island

By Ben Kennedy - Reporter

MIAMI - Gov. Rick Scott joined city and county officials for the opening ceremony of the new PortMiami tunnel Monday morning.

They were there to thank the thousands of workers who were part of the nearly $1 billion construction project.

"We're going to have a lot of jobs -- 33,000 more private sector jobs when all this is finished," Scott said.

It began with a $45 million boring machine that spent the past four years slicing through rock to connect the MacArthur Causeway to Dodge Island and create a direct link from the seaport to the highway, giving cargo trucks easy access to ships while avoiding downtown Miami traffic.

"As soon as this tunnel opens, the impact on the city in terms of less traffic -- no trucks going through the streets of downtown -- is amazing," Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said.

Safety inspectors made one final round through the tunnel to prepare for the estimated 16,000 drivers who will pass through it daily.

"We're going to be open as soon as we finish all of our security sweeps, all of our synchronization and the fire department does their intensive drill," tunnel project vice president Chris Hodgkins said. "Once we have that drill, the tunnel's open."

The tunnel is expected to open to the public by the end of the month.

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