Miami’s Port Tunnel has met and passed its first hurricane challenge.
Miami Access Tunnel Chief Executive Officer Christopher Hodgkins told The Next Miami that the tunnel reopened to traffic at 10:28 am Tuesday morning and is fully functional. Hodgkins said he was happy that the tunnel performed as designed.
55-ton metal flood gates with a rubber gasket seal secured the tunnel during the storm. Those gates only take 19 minutes to open and close, and they were already back open Tuesday. An assessment and system analysis was required due to the hurricane, and the green light was given to traffic Tuesday morning following completion.
The tunnel is designed to be water tight and was “bone dry.” The only damage: there are 47 downed trees. Four Gate Arms were also replaced.
Email chain sent by chief, from Lockdown to Reopen:
From: Christopher Hodgkins Sent: Wednesday, September 06, 2017 12:15 PM Subject: Hurricane Irma Preparedness
We just finished our morning briefing with the Coast Guard and Port Miami. We are now in Code X Ray until Friday at noon….at which time we will be going to Code Yankee.
Code Yankee will require that we vacate the Port and close our water tight, 55 ton metal gates. The flood gates have a rubber gasket seal that will prevent any water from intruding the Tunnel.
At 8am, Captain Dean of the Coast Guard will issue an order for the most critical code of Preparedness: Code Zulu.
We expect Hurricane Irma to have landfall at approximately 2am on Sunday morning. All Tunnel SERT Team members will be with me in our secure Command Center at the Port of Miami. We are hopeful that the current tracking model will change so as to avoid a direct hit on Miami.
Nevertheless we are prepared for the worst. Safety first.
I will give you an update tomorrow morning.
Please see the US Coast Guard Conditions below.
From: Christopher Hodgkins Sent: Friday, September 08, 2017 1:34 PM Subject: MIAMI TUNNEL Braces for Hurricane Irma
The Tunnel has been closed and is secure. We had a successful flood gate closure that began this morning at 10am. The 55 ton metal gates with a rubber gasket seal will keep us water tight.
In less than six hours from now we will be at the highest hurricane level for a Category 5 Hurricane: Code Zulu. We will be shutting all operations soon and sending all personnel home to secure themselves and their families.
We anticipate the strength and duration of the storm at this time to be dire. In my last meeting with Port Director Kuryla, he indicated that the wind force after the hurricane passes will be intense both Sunday and Monday morning. The anticipated time to regroup and do a damage assessment will be at 3pm Monday at the very earliest.
To all those that made the closing a breeze today…..thanks!
Be safe and prepared.
From: Christopher Hodgkins Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 1:08 PM Subject: Miami Tunnel….Dry as a bone. Now open!
We have survived Hurricane Irma and code Zulu was lifted this morning. All our tunnel assets are secured and 100% functional. We have 47 downed trees and have replaced 4 AGT Gate Arms. In cooperation with Miami Dade Police and PortMiami we opened the Tunnel for traffic today at 10:08am.
We greatly appreciate everyone’s energy and talent in securing, closing, assessing and opening the tunnel over the last 96 hours. We weathered the storm and came out stronger. The tunnel met its challenge and finished the hurricane bone dry and ready to open! Many thanks to our Tunnel team and BRS for meeting the challenge of addressing an unknown weather catastrophe head on.
We got a chance to thank everyone as we hosted the Tunnel Team with an afternoon cookout!