Region: North America
Country: United States
PortMiami is one of the most important economic centers in the United States. Not only is it the top seaport in Florida, it is the 11th largest cargo port in the nation. Miami is widely considered the “cruise capital of the world,” serving as a gateway to the Caribbean islands, Central America, and other top vacation destinations. The port is responsible for $15 billion a year in imports and exports, and $18 billion in total economic output. More than a dozen shipping companies regularly service the port, while cruise lines whisk over four million passengers a year off to exotic destinations. While this description paints a glamorous picture of a seaside city bustling with tourists and commerce, the port’s popularity has also made the region susceptible to painful congestion.
As construction teams and “for hire” signs first began to flood Miami-Dade County just six years ago in 2009, it signaled the beginning of an ambitious infrastructure project that would culminate in the completion of a landmark tunnel in Miami. The tunnel, which was designed in an effort to reduce traffic congestion around PortMiami, finally opened its doors (or rather raised its gates) to the public on August 3, 2014. Now that the tunnel has been fully operative for just over a year, it is the perfect time to reflect on how this colossal venture has affected city operations and improved the life of South Floridians and visitors alike. From creating jobs and clearing traffic, to boosting the economy, the tunnel has plenty to say for itself. Thousands of people drive through the underwater passageway each day, but most give little more than a passing thought to the endeavors that allowed the tunnel to take its final form. A great deal of planning went on behind the scene, and hundreds of officials came together to strategize on ways not just to construct a tunnel, but to launch a one-of-a-kind project that would serve as a model for how such large-scale infrastructure tasks, combined with a few novel ideas and a lot of hard work, could serve the local community and pay back their tax dollars many times over.
Updated: April 12, 2022