Showcase in Miami

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Presented as the cover story in this issue, the PortMiami Tunnel project is helping to advance the state of the art in the United States, not only in construction technology, but also in project delivery. The project owner, the Florida Department of Transportation, employed a public-private partnership (PPP) with MAT Concessionaire LLC. The partnership includes French construction firm Bouygues as the builder.

Under this approach, MAT was awarded a contract to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the facility for 35 years. The infusion of private financing helped allow the project to proceed more quickly, helping keep the port, one of Miami’s largest economic generators, competitive. Additionally, the project featured the largest soft ground machine used in the United States at the time of its launch (the SR 99 TBM being prepared in Seattle is now the world’s largest), and employed ground modification techniques to allow construction under Biscayne Bay and in challenging geology.

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Other projects in North America are using public-private partnerships for tunnel construction, including the Billy Bishop Airport pedestrian tunnel in Toronto and the Midtown Tunnel project linking Norfolk and Portsmouth in Virginia. More recently, officials are considering a PPP for the $2.5 billion Purple Line light rail line in greater Washington, D.C.

PPPs are becoming increasingly discussed for public infrastructure in the United States and they offer some intriguing benefits. Tunnel excavation on the Miami project is complete, and when it opens it will help create model for others to consider in planning.

Site Report : Indianapolis
On May 14, I was in Indianapolis and had the opportunity to visit Citizen Energy Group’s Deep Rock Tunnel Connector (DRTC) project. John Morgan, construction manager for the owner, and Michael Stolkin, quality manager for S-K JV, led a tour of the site, shaft and starter tunnel. Using a rebuilt Robbins hard-rock TBM that had previously worked in New York, crews are making good progress and were ahead of schedule.

The DRTC comprises 41,700 lf of 20-ft, 2-in. excavated, 18-ft finished tunnel using a two-pass liner. The project also includes the launch and retrieval shafts, as well as 10 ancillary shafts for utilities, ventilation, etc. The depth of the tunnel is more than 200 ft below surface. S-K JV (Shea- Kiewit) is the contractor, with Aecom serving as the designer.

The $179 million DRTC is the first segment of a 25-mile underground tunnel system designed to store 250 million gallons of raw sewage and prevent overflows into area rivers and streams. This segment alone will be able to capture and store over 50 million gallons to be delivered for treatment at our Southport Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. After the Deep Rock Tunnel Connector is complete, construction will begin on the White River and Lower Pogues Run tunnels followed by the Fall Creek and Pleasant Run tunnels. The entire tunnel system will be complete by 2025.

TBM at RETC
We at TBM: Tunnel Business Magazine will be on hand in Washington, D.C., for the Rapid Excavation and Tunneling Conference, hosted by the UCA of SME. This is North America’s biggest tunneling of the event of the year, and we look forward to catching up with everyone there. The event is June 23-26
(www.retc.org).

See you in D.C.,
Jim Rush Editor

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