Port of Miami Tunnel: the Last to Use Fluorescent Lights?

miami tunnel
Gita Subramony for Zondits, March 26, 2015

Miami’s newest infrastructure project, a 4,200-foot vehicle tunnel that connects the city’s airport and Interstate 95 with the Port of Miami, is significant for many reasons. Not only is the project massive, but it also might be the last major vehicle tunnel project to use high-pressure sodium fixtures and linear fluorescents. That is because LEDs are gaining a foothold in these types of projects. Previously, LED technology was too expensive and did not provide the correct levels of lighting to meet tunnel safety standards. With advances in LED technology, certain fixtures can now provide appropriate light output levels without breaking the bank, giving metal halides and high-pressure sodium fixtures some competition.

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An End and A Beginning

IES, September 2014

In the September 2014 issue of LD+A, Michael N. Maltezos—Kenall’s transportation sales manager and an IES Roadway Lighting Committee Member—explored the recent construction of a massive tunnel in Miami. In the excerpt that follows, Maltezos explains why the Miami tunnel might be the last of its kind, and why LEDs may become the best option for the crucial Threshold Zone in tunnels.

The much-anticipated Port of Miami Tunnel is set to officially open for business after four years of construction. Costing in excess of $1 billion, the tunnel was funded through a public-private partnership where no tolls are charged—a first in the U.S. The tunnel also boasts other firsts, such as the use of a new tunnel-boring machine, never before used in this country, in its construction. Additionally, the Port Tunnel design and operation incorporate best practices culled from tunnels around the world, including the installation of fire-prevention boards, security cameras and ventilation system jet fans.

The tunnel measures approximately 4,200 ft long and 120 ft below the surface at its deepest point. It has two dedicated lanes in each direction, connecting Miami International Airport and Interstate 95 directly to the Port of Miami. The twin-tunnel allows port traffic to bypass the streets of downtown Miami, and will alleviate congestion of the nearly 16,000 vehicles that travel to and from the seaport through downtown streets each weekday.

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