According to a traffic analysis study done by Parsons Brinckerhoff in 2009, about 16,000 vehicles travel each day to and from the Port of Miami through downtown streets, of which 28 percent or 4480 are cargo trucks. This volume is expected to increase to 70,000 vehicles per day by 2033. It is anticipated that most trucks and buses and 80 percent of the passenger vehicles traveling to and from the port will be diverted to the tunnel.
Currently, around 2,000 semi-trucks daily make their way in and out of the Port of Miami causing congestion in Miami’s central business district and affecting port access for other vehicles. The tunnel will redirect that freight traffic and create a direct connection to the interstate highway system.
The project team is developing ways to create a U-turn area on MacArthur Causeway which will allow eighteen-wheelers to return to the westbound lanes of the causeway and access the port via Biscayne Boulevard and the Port Bridge.
The U-turn currently being considered would be constructed as a left hand deceleration lane near the off-ramp for the Parrot Jungle Trail frontage road. Information will be provided to all trucking companies through the Port of Miami to ensure individual truckers know how to enter and exit the tunnel.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 502 (Standard for Road Tunnels, Bridges, and Other Limited Access Highways) is the governing document for establishing minimum fire protection and life safety requirements within the Port of Miami Tunnel. In addition, as part of the operations and maintenance of the project, 24-hour cameras will monitor the tunnel to ensure it is open and free of traffic hazards.
In addition, the tunnel will be able to deploy mechanical flood gates in case of a major storm. The purpose of these gates will be to prevent major floodings or debris to flow inside the tunnel.