Work on the $1-billion Port of Miami Tunnel project, long delayed and nearly cancelled due to financial reasons, has finally begun. On May 24, work officially commenced with site clearing and grubbing and delivery of equipment and materials. The project’s price tag includes $607 million for design and construction. The Florida Dept. of Transportation selected concessionaire Miami Access Tunnel, led by Bouygues Publics Travaux of France, to design, build, finance, maintain and operate the tunnel. The project will reroute trucks out of downtown Miami, providing direct access to the port from the MacArthur Causeway, also known as Highway A1A. A 42-ft-dia tunnel-boring machine will facilitate the construction of two 3,900-ft-long, two-lane tunnels that will reach depths of 120 ft below Biscayne Bay. Tunnel boring is expected to start on Watson Island in summer 2011. FDOT has committed to pick up nearly half the project’s capital costs—$457.5 million—and provide $200 million for operation and maintenance. The county and city also have contributed funds. The state will pay MAT as certain construction milestones are met as well as annual maximum availability payments of $33.2 million once the two tunnels open to traffic. At the end of 35 years, the tunnel becomes the property of the state. The Miami tunnel is expected to open to traffic in May 2014.