Meridiam is pleased to announce the successful opening of the Port of Miami Tunnel Project in Florida. Financial close was previously achieved on October 15, 2009, making Meridiam a 90% shareholder in the project alongside Bouygues Travaux Publics. Florida utilized the public-private partnership model to complete the tunnel, and the project was jointly tendered by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Miami-Dade County, and the City of Miami, representing an overall investment of $US 903 million.
The Port of Miami Tunnel Project consisted of three components: the tunnel connection between Watson Island and Port of Miami; linkages to the Port of Miami roadway system; and a widening of the MacArthur Causeway Bridge. The tunnel structure is comprised of two tubes with a diameter of 36 feet, each containing two traffic lanes, curbs, walkways, ventilation fans, and additional safety features. Through connecting Watson Island and the Port of Miami beneath Government Cut, which is the main shipping channel in Biscayne Bay, it will help move traffic eastbound to and westbound from the Port. Furthermore, by connecting MacArthur Causeway to the Port of Miami, this project will serve as a dedicated roadway linking Port facilities with Florida’s Interstate System. The tunnel is expected to divert 16,000 vehicles daily from downtown Miami by providing a direct link to Interstate 95 and State Road 836, which connects to Miami International Airport. Before the construction of the tunnel, the only accessible entryway to the port was through Port Boulevard, which caused heavy traffic and congestion for cargo trucks and cruise ships.
The completion of the project is tied to strong economic benefits to the community. Since the project started in May 2010, Florida’s economy has strengthened due to the hiring of 968 people, with more than 80% of those employees being Miami-Dade residents. Going forward, in addition to traffic decongestion, inefficiencies will be reduced as there are now two dedicated lanes connecting Miami International Airport and Interstate 95 to the Port. The tunnel will make downtown streets safer, reduce traffic and will aid ongoing and future development in and around downtown Miami. As part of the project’s sustainability initiative, the tunnel will reduce idle vehicle time as well as cut the amount of vehicle emissions by allowing for more efficient travel to and from the port.
The creation of the tunnel also provides another entry point besides the existing Port Bridge, which will maintain Port of Miami as the community’s second largest economic generator, with more opportunities for national and global growth. As a result, Miami will become an even more attractive destination by which to exit or enter the U.S. market.
Thierry Deau, Chairman and CEO of Meridiam, states, “The Port of Miami was Meridiam’s first PPP project in the U.S. and I am happy to be a part of it. Public-private partnerships represent an innovative method of delivering much needed infrastructure solutions to U.S. communities. In this case, Miami will become an even more attractive destination for tourists and commerce alike. Jobs have been created and needed logistical capacity was enhanced.”
Current additional Meridiam projects in North America include, the Long Beach Courthouse, the Presidio Parkway, the North Tarrant Express Motorway, and the Waterloo Canada Region Light Rail Transit Project.