‘Building History: The PortMiami Tunnel Story’ hosted by Bouygues Civil Works Florida

Hundreds of business and community leaders sharing success stories learned more about the PortMiami Tunnel “Building History Story” when design-build contractor Bouygues Civil Works Florida hosted an Aventura Marketing Council meeting featuring Project Executive Louis Brais.

Past AMC Chair Bob Hollander of Brown & Brown Insurance welcomed guests to the Kovens Conference Center at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus along with Bouygues’ Director of Communications Luz Weinberg, Aventura City Commissioner, and Louis Brais – credited with excavating the twin tubes through eight different layers of intricate geology, 120 feet underneath Government Cut, to build the $1 billion PortMiami Tunnel. The project  utilized innovative techniques, including cutter soil mixing, ground freezing,  and a German-built   tunnel- boring machine named “Harriet”.

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Brais emphasized, “Bar none, this is the most complex tunnel that has been built around the world.” Dating back to the 1980’s, visionary plans for the tunnel were initiated to provide a direct connection from the Port of Miami to the airport and highways via Watson Island to I-395; keep the Port of Miami competitive; and increase safety of downtown streets by reducing congestion. It’s estimated the tunnel pulls nearly 16,000 vehicles – more than half of them trucks – off the downtown traffic grid each day.

After decades of planning, a first of its kind public private partnership was formed between the Florida Department of Transportation, Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami and Miami Access Tunnel Concessionaire (comprised of Meridiam Infrastructure and Bouygues Travaux Publics). Bouygues Civil Works Florida began construction in May 2010 and on August 3, 2014, the PortMiami Tunnel grand opening made international headlines. Heralded for incorporating award-winning innovations, the tunnel boasts the latest safety features available in the U.S. today including Automatic Incident Detection and active sprinkler fire suppression systems.

The tunnel’s 91 roadway CCTV cameras and 110" video wall enable display of the entire tunnel interior in less than 15 seconds and its 50- foot hurricane flood gates protect against storm surges. Air quality is maintained with eight sensors driving the tunnel’s 44 ventilation fans; and live lane control, as well as dynamic messaging systems ensure timely safety information for motorists.

Touting the tunnel’s positive economic impact, Brais noted that Bouygues awarded nearly $300 million in contracts to local businesses, and “83% of our nearly 1,000direct-hire employees are local hires.”

When President Barack Obama visited the PortMiami Tunnel site, he noted that CEOs want to locate businesses where there are ports and new tunnels that help ship products made in America to the rest of the world as fast as possible.

Brais added, “Bouygues is proud of the great progress we’ve made in this very challenging project. President Obama used his visit to affirm his belief in and commitment to public private partnerships, using ours as a national model, and we look forward to partnering with the public for other great projects.”

By Bari Auerbach

Bouygues Civil Works Florida is a division of Bouygues Construction, subsidiary of the Bouygues Group, one of the world’s leaders in building, civil engineering, electrical contracting and maintenance. Operating in over 80 countries, it combines the strength of a large corporation and the flexibility of a network of companies organized in seven complementary entities. For more information, visit www.Bouygues.com and portofmiamitunnel.com