Local 10 drives through Port of Miami tunnel

Tunnel expected to open May 2014

MIAMI – Local 10 took an exclusive drive through the tunnel that will connect Dodge Island, where the Port of Miami is located, to Watson Island.


Local 10 was allowed to drive through the eastbound lanes on Wednesday.

WATCH: Drive through

Harriet, the tunnel boring machine, is about two weeks away from making its way back to Watson Island.

"They are putting the wheels on the tunnel boring machine. Those are steel rubber rolled wheels. They have to hold 195 tons," said Christopher Hodgkins with Miami Access Tunnel.

The tunnel is just less than a mile long and makes three different turns along its route.

Each four story high tube will carry two traffic lanes and a third of it will be filled with concrete to create the road base. 

"It is also to act as a ballast to keep this tunnel in place because, right now, we are a hollow tube underneath the ground and the water," said Hodgkins.

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During the journey into the tunnel, video showed what looked like graffiti.

"You see this green outline here with the green and orange paint. That is actually going to be a cross passage. In the tunnel, we will have five cross passages," said Hodgkins.

The cross passages will be used for tunnel maintenance and for emergency evacuations, if necessary. As the crew drove deeper into the tunnel, they occasionally passed workers.

"To date, we have 430 direct hires and I am glad to say that 83 percent of the people that work here are from Miami-Dade County," said Hodgkins.

The deepest point of the tunnel is 120 feet below sea level. There are eight cement segments to each ring that has been put in place and half of the 12,000 segments needed to create the tunnel have been sealed into place.

The project is on time and on budget. Project managers hope to open the tunnel by May 15, 2014.