Today, when cars and truck enter the Port of Miami cruise and cargo terminals, many will have passed 120 feet beneath Government Cut – a wide entryway and turning basin for cruise ships and cargo ships to enter the busy port.
The parallel 4,200-foot long, 29-foot wide tunnels start on McArthur Causeway on Watson Island, which is several hundred yards off downtown Miami’s coast, and end on Dodge Island, a cruise and cargo terminal facility in Biscayne Bay.
Taking about four years to build, the project employed thousands of workers from throughout the greater South Florida area, as well as specialists who operated precision boring equipment that tunneled through the bedrock beneath the water.
At the project’s beginning, long-reach excavators dug the pit that would eventually house the boring machine assembly area. Backhoes and smaller excavators were delivered to the job site to shape the pit and prepare for the underground construction.
When the massive French-manufactured boring machine was assembled on the job site and began operating, about 14,000 tons of material were removed each week during the tunneling phase, requiring excavators, loaders and dump trucks to haul the debris away. To preserve paved roads around the job, wheeled excavators were also used on the project, enabling the earthmoving machines to be quickly relocated for immediate use in different areas.
As the tunnel boring and road construction job progressed, mini-excavators, generators, all-terrain forklifts, compressors, light towers, scissor lifts, boom lifts and welders were deployed across the tunnel job site to facilitate the tunnel’s completion.
Neff Rental’s Miami branch supplied the equipment on the Miami tunnel construction project. The branch set up a 24/7 equipment service and repair facility inside the tunnel project’s staging yard, reducing or eliminating downtime for the deadline-sensitive equipment operators.