To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Regional rapid bus system sbX moving forward in San Bernardino


Neil Nisperos, Staff Writer
 Posted:   12/23/2012 06:06:03 AM PST
 A regional rapid bus transit system, with faster vehicles that can load more riders, is taking shape in the San Bernardino Valley.
Construction is under way on a line that runs down the E Street corridor in San Bernardino, from Cal State San Bernardino to the Loma Linda Behavioral Medicine Center in Redlands.

The middle portion of the E Street corridor features dedicated lanes for the buses running down the middle of the road, and ticketing platforms in the middle of key intersections that include Marshall Boulevard, Highland Avenue, and Base Line Road.

Substantial completion is anticipated for early 2014, with testing and training taking place at that time, said Omnitrans spokesman David Rutherford.

The brand name for the rapid bus system is sbX, which stands for San Bernardino Express, Rutherford said. The E Street corridor is the first sbX line to be constructed. It's part of a larger sbX network of corridors envisioned to run on key thoroughfares throughout the San Bernardino valley and as far west as Rancho Cucamonga.

Rutherford called the project a "light rail experience on wheels," citing loading platforms that mirror ticketing platforms for rail projects such as the Gold Line.

"We want to reduce traffic congestion, and we think that by making a service available that is faster, or a more frequent service, that will attract a bigger ridership than we've had in the past with these BRT lines," Rutherford said. "We're developing the corridors and our goal is to provide connectivity with the other Omnitrans routes, as well as other transit services."

Bus rapid transit, officials said, is faster, and has fewer stops. The buses will also have traffic signal priority capability, allowing them to change stoplights to green for speedier travel.

Goals include mitigating increasing traffic on the region's freeways, increasing bus ridership, fostering transit-oriented development in the west end of San Bernardino County, and providing better transit links between the Omnitrans system, Metrolink, the Gold Line, and the LA/Ontario International Airport.

Potential sbX corridors include the east to west streets of Foothill Boulevard and Holt Boulevard, and north-south streets of Mountain Avenue, Haven Avenue, Sierra Avenue, and Riverside Avenue. The overall vision for an sbX system was approved by SANBAG in 2004.

Construction for other corridors is dependent on funding, and Omnitrans officials hope potential success with the E Street corridor will serve to bring money for the rest of the system.

"Before we even pursue (development on the other corridors), we have to complete this (E Street) project," Rutherford said. "If the (Federal Transit Administration) is satisfied with this corridor then, I think that will lead to funding for future corridors."

An 18-month study on the Foothill corridor is ongoing, while a preliminary study on Holt, to investigate stops and bus paths, is set to begin in January.

Rancho Cucamonga city officials met this past week to discuss planning for a line on Foothill Boulevard and Haven Avenue.

 "The takeaway from the meeting I think is a recognition that it's a long-term project, and it's not going to get done in the next year or two, but (city leaders) asked that as we go along, we carefully analyze it, and we'll bring more details back to them for further review," said Jeff Bloom, deputy city manager for economic and community development.

City leaders, Bloom said, indicated desire to maintain bus stop or station designs consistent with the city's overall aesthetic.

"In Rancho, they've very carefully made the bus terminal fit the development," Bloom said. "They're very nicely done. They didn't want the BRT to adversely change that in a bad way."

According to the city's general plan, seven stops are envisioned, for a bus route that could conceivably run down the middle of Foothill Boulevard. The BRT would also connect to a route down Haven Avenue to the Ontario International Airport.

"I think bus rapid transit really is the future of transit," said Rohan Kuruppu, director of planning for Omnitrans.

"That's how we can most efficiently and effectively meet the mobility needs of this region. It is sustainable because as traffic conditions increases as congestion increases, we will still be able to maintain the operating speed because of dedicated lanes, stations and signal priority."

Bicycle people make the connection


Updated:   12/22/2012 07:05:22 PM PST
 As a student studying social ecology at UC Irvine, I learned the term "paradigm shift."
I thought of that term when I finished talking to Vincent Chang, president of Bike SGV, a bicycle advocacy group from the San Gabriel Valley.

Chang sees transportation in terms of two wheels, not four. When he sees a way to get from Point A to Point B, he thinks pedal power not piston power. He and others like him are changing the paradigm on how Southern Californians get around, or commute, if you will.

Case in point.

When the new El Monte Transit Station debuted a few months ago, he liked what he saw. In fact, Bike SGV may begin teaming up with Metro to staff the bike station, which will help bike riders fix a flat, buy a water bottle or power bar and park their bike before hopping on a bus.

But right behind the new $60 million bus station lies the Rio Hondo Bikeway. The two are separated by a fence. Bike SGV and other bicycle riders, including myself, are quite familiar with the paved bikeway.

For bike commuters, it is a way to go from Peck Road Park in Arcadia to the beach. Or for the casual rider (I'm raising my hand), it's a chance to safely ride a shorter distance without cars during a Sunday afternoon.

When Chang toured the gleaming new station, he wondered why it did not connect with the Rio Hondo Bikeway. And so did I.

 So, here's a chance for a simple solution. To move bike commuters from the Rio Hondo Bikeway
to the El Monte bus station. From riding a bike to picking up a Metro or Foothill Transit bus to Los Angeles, the Westside or if going East, to shop at the malls in West Covina or study at Mt. San Antonio College or Cal Poly Pomona.

The only problem is, the gate is locked. There is no connection between the bike path and the El Monte bus station.

"I am not an engineer," begins Chang, who is an attorney from Monterey Park when he's not advocating for more bike lanes. "Basically, you just need to pave the area. It would appear to be a very natural connection for someone coming up the Rio Hondo."

Sometimes the idea is so simple that it eludes big government.

Or, perhaps one needs to make that paradigm shift from cars and buses to bikes.

I remember asking a councilman from Temple City about the city's plans to revamp Las Tunas Drive, you know, to make it more pedestrian friendly. I agreed with the idea, but I said they needed to make it more bicycle friendly, too.

He asked: "Does it really matter to you if you have a stripe on the road?"

Yes. Yes. Yes. It does matter. Because it tells people in cars that bicyclists may be sharing this road. As Chang put it, "it gives notice."

Metro built a $60 million bus station that will eventually double the number of passengers taking the bus. They even included a bike room with bike lockers and a bike rest area.

But what the station does not include is way to get from the Rio Hondo Bikepath into the station.

"You have a bikeway that has already been built. What you would be doing is building an off-ramp for bikes but it would be nowhere near the expense of building an off-ramp for vehicles," Chang said.

No, it would be so easy and inexpensive.

Chang suggests an "off-ramp" if you will, leading to the back of the bus station.

"It's simply a matter of unlocking a gate to facilitate direct access to the new bike hub (at the El Monte bus station)," Chang said. "It's easy, painless and practical."

If Metro thought that it was a bit dangerous having bike riders pedaling near buses, Metro could pave a path the length of adjacent Pioneer Park that would connect the bikeway to the bus station.

Either way, I'm joining Bike SGV's efforts to connect the Rio Hondo Bikeway to the El Monte Transit Center. You can go to their website www.bikesgv.org, click on "actions" and sign their petition.

Javier Hernandez, program director of Bike SGV, said the petition already has 122 signatures. "We will be submitting that to Metro and the city of El Monte," Hernandez said.

I'd suggest after the bike ramp is built, they erect a sign: "Paradigm Shift Ahead."

Who are your neighbors?

Los Angeles may need to tighten the rules on who is eligible to vote in neighborhood council elections.


 Editorial, December 23, 2012



 Eagle Rock

 In the recent Eagle Rock election in which dispensary operators rounded up supporters, more than one-third of voters came from outside the neighborhood; in the end, two of the candidates on the pro-dispensary slate were elected. Above: An Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council board member stands in front of a proposed medical marijuana clinic in 2009. (Los Angeles Times / December 23, 2012)

One of the animating forces behind reform of the City Charter in the 1990s was widespread frustration that the city did not effectively encourage or permit communities to participate in setting policy. In the San Fernando Valley, the harbor, Hollywood and other areas of Los Angeles, voters were so angry that they flirted with secession as a way to take control of the decisions that affected their futures.

One result was the creation of a system of neighborhood councils. Today, those entities, which voters approved as part of a larger package of charter reforms in 1999, are something less than their most ardent advocates once wanted but also something less than their detractors once feared. They are purely advisory. Other than controlling small budgets for neighborhood improvements, their only power is to persuade. They have no authority to veto proposed developments or otherwise control land use in their areas, an idea that some advocates once pressed for but that alarmed others who worried that projects would be blocked out of a sort of institutionalized NIMBYism.

And yet, despite the restrictions on their authority, the councils have managed to become significant, if uneven, sources of influence at City Hall. They helped create the pressure, for example, that led to a ratepayer advocate at the Department of Water and Power. Indeed, one measure of their influence is that they have in some cases been the object of gamesmanship — no one plays dirty to take over a powerless body.

One way that special interests have done that is by stacking neighborhood council elections — turning out large numbers of voters with little connection to the neighborhood and encouraging them to vote for particular candidates. They can do that because the city allows participation not only by people who live or work in the neighborhood but also by those who attend religious services or shop there, among other things. Those participants are known as "factual-basis stakeholders," meaning they have a basis for participation even if it is more tenuous than that of residents or workers.

In a recent Eagle Rock election for neighborhood council, for example, operators of marijuana dispensaries flooded the voting with outside supporters. In the end, more than one-third of voters came from elsewhere, and two of the candidates on the pro-dispensary slate were elected. In Rampart Village, 69 of the 135 people who voted in a recent council race were factual-basis voters who didn't live in the district, most of them recruited by supporters of one slate; the slate won.
It's not an accident, or necessarily a bad thing, that people with a relatively loose connection to a neighborhood are allowed to participate. This is a subject that was much discussed when the councils were established, and along with the decision to make the councils relatively powerless came a decision to open their elections to a broad group of stakeholders.

But today's councils may have taken that notion too far. It defies common sense to say that a person who stops for coffee at a Starbucks or fills his tank at a service station has the same investment in a community as a person who owns a home or business there. And if anyone with a Starbucks receipt can vote, then those elections will always be subject to manipulation. Advocates can gather up allies who live or work anywhere, buy each a cup of coffee and line them up to vote.

The city has grappled with this issue before, but it remains unsettled. The latest effort is being spearheaded by City Councilman Jose Huizar — and it is to be commended if also to be pursued with some caution. Huizar and the city's Department of Neighborhood Empowerment should seek to determine how serious a problem this is — if indeed it is a serious problem at all — and if they decide to take action, they should search for fixes that preserve broad access while curbing obvious abuses.

In seeking to strike an intelligent balance between inclusiveness and common sense, participation should begin with those whose stake is unchallenged and is specifically recognized in the City Charter — people who live, work or own property in a community should be presumptively eligible to participate. Beyond that, Huizar has proposed extending participation to people who can show they have an "ongoing" place in the life of the neighborhood. If that's too loose, perhaps it should be a "substantial and ongoing" relationship. That would help differentiate between, say, the churchgoer who comes to services every week or the parent whose children go to school there and the diner who stops in at a local restaurant.

No one should be under the illusion that this will be easy. If a person buys a cup of coffee at Starbucks, that clearly wouldn't constitute an ongoing relationship. But suppose he buys one every day?

One option available to neighborhood councils is to define their stakeholders broadly for the purpose of voting, but then limit the number of seats that can actually be won by those whose ties are most tenuous. A council of 10 members might, for example, set aside eight seats for residents and business owners, with two more for "others." That would not prevent factual-basis voters from choosing board members, but it would limit their ability to take control.

Once the city crafts reasonable definitions and rules, the job of implementing them will fall to the councils themselves. It should not be the city government's goal to answer every question for every council. It should, however, be up to City Hall to put in place thoughtful rules that do not thwart but rather encourage Los Angeles' ongoing experiment in community representation.


Hooray Henrys are accused of 'turning UK's longest under-land road tunnel into racetrack for high performance cars'


By Lee Moran

No-go zone: Wealthy young drivers have been speeding in their supercars through the Hindhead Tunnel, which only opened in July, to the disgust of local residents

 A 1.3-mile road tunnel, underneath one of southern England’s prettiest beauty spots, has been turned into a 'racetrack for high performance cars' - little more than a month after it opened.

Costing £370million it takes cars and lorries travelling on the A3 between London and the South Coast under ground along two 70mph road tunnels at Hindhead in Surrey.

Locals rejoiced as traffic would finally be diverted away from their homes but their happiness has proved short-lived - because a group of wealthy youngsters are speeding along the road in their Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Aston Martins - trying to break their own 'lap records'.
 Several video clips have been posted on YouTube of supercar users navigating the road, including one from 'carpenterboy' who said: 'Unfortunately there were average speed cameras at either end, however we still managed to hit some tasty notes with the hood down'.

It has led to claims that the Hindhead Tunnel is now, at night, virtually a dangerous 'no-go zone'.

Resident William Broadhurst, 66, who lives metres away, said: 'It's such a flagship project, and such a good thing that we can construct something of such magnitude.

'But these reckless drivers are causing us sleepless nights and my very real fear is that there will be a fatality.

'They're turning up in their souped-up cars, so they're obviously not just young drivers.
 They are brainless, mindless thugs who are clearly organising this kind of activity. It's nearly always late at night, and a neighbour of ours said he could hear them from a mile away.'
He also claimed that when the boy racers were approached by residents, they unleashed torrents of foul-mouthed verbal abuse.

The Hindhead Tunnel opened on July 29, two days ahead of schedule, as part of the new Hindhead bypass for the A3 in Surrey.

The project was so popular with locals that two months before it opened 7,000 paid £6 each to walk throught the construction - Britain's most ambitious tunnelling project since the Channel Tunnel. Tickets sold out in less than 24 hours.

The Highways Agency said at the time the project will mean quicker, more reliable journeys on a safer road and remove rat-running traffic from unsuitable country roads around Hindhead.

It forms part of a dual-carriageway being built to replace the last remaining stretch of single carriageway on the 68-mile London to Portsmouth road.
Surrey Police confirmed it had received complaints regarding dangerous driving.

Neighbourhood specialist officer Jason Clifford said: 'It would appear that the enthusiasts are keen to experience the longest under-land road tunnel in the United Kingdom and for some this has led to some extreme driving practices.

'Surrey Police will not tolerate anti-social driving and has as a direct result of reports and complaints from local residents set up specific taskings to tackle the behaviour.


Best Site on the SR-710 Freeway Expansion:  http://www.no710.com/


The No 710 Action Committee

is a fast growing association of cities, organizations, professionals and citizens who realize that the SR-710 tunnel is an unacceptable alternative to address regional transportation problems. Our mission is to promote solutions that are environmentally and fiscally sound, reduce pollution, reduce health risks, reduce congestion, and eliminate public dependence on fossil fuels. The No 710 Action Committee demands that transit authorities operate in an honest and transparent manner that is responsive to the concerns and interests of the impacted communities and the public at large.

Read quotes from candidates and elected officials
who are for and against the 710 extension (go to website to view the quotes)


Why the SR-710 (Tunnel) is a Bad Idea

  • The SR-710 North Extension is not being built for commuters. It's intended as part of a goods movement system that ties into the Expansion of the I-710 Freeway and the High Desert Corridor.1
  • These 4.5 mile tunnels will not have exits or onramps, further demonstrating that it is not designed for local commuters, but pass-through traffic from the Ports.
  • The SR-710 North Extension (tunnel(s) would likely connect the lower 710 Freeway with the already heavily congested 210 freeway which will lead to gridlock conditions for everyone.2
  • Cost - Government sources have quoted project cost ranges between $1 - $14 billion to build the tunnel. The current figure being used by the MTA and SCAG is $5.6 billion. The smaller "Big Dig" tunnel, (only 3.5-mile long) was estimated to cost $2.8 billion in 1982 dollars.3 However, the Boston Globe has estimated that the project will ultimately cost $24 billion,3 including interest, and that it will not be paid off until 2038.3
  • To pay for the huge construction and upkeep costs (lacking in the $5.6 billion estimate) a public-private partnership must be forged. These investors need to make a profit from this deal and tolls will be charged. Tolls create diversion traffic.4 Drivers unwilling to pay the "average" fees of $5.64 for cars and $15.23 for cargo trucks5 will likely take the "short cut" through local neighborhood streets.
  • InfraConsult, a financial consultant, provided a forecast volume of 190,000 annual average daily traffic in the SR-710 North Tunnel for the year 2030 to which a diversion rate of 35% has been applied.4 It is possible that a public-private partnership for the 710 tunnel(s) will fail like other toll roads because the forecasts were based on FLAWED traffic projections6 and traffic volumes may be much lower than expected.7
  • The risk of being killed in a traffic accident occurring in a tunnel is twice as high as on open stretches of motorways.8
  • If a fire occurs, there is no easy way out of a tunnel, especially for the infirmed.9
  • Vehicle exhaust cannot be properly filtered and will lead to health issues not only for the drivers who use the tunnel10 but also for the surrounding communities where the exhaust is vented.11
This website is designed to provide information
and documentation regarding the 710 tunnel project.

Take Action

Press Releases

Najarian Voted Off MTA Board (PDF)
No 710 Action Committee condemns
Fasana and Messina, 12/11/2012
No 710 Action Committee (PDF)
Position Statement, 9/2012

Upcoming Meetings

January 23 Wednesday 6-8 PM
Metro's All Communities Convening Open House: State Route 710 Environmental Study Alternatives Analysis Report Information about the five Alternatives that will be further analyzed in the draft environmental document.
Maranatha High School-Student Center / 169 South Saint John AV / Pasadena, CA 91105

January 24  Thursday 9 AM
Metro Board Meeting
Najarian motion for CEO staff to report @ February 2013 Board Meeting cost estimate for the SR-710 North Project.
Metro/One Gateway Plaza / Los Angeles, CA 90012 / Board Room 3rd Floor

January 24 Thursday 6-8 PM
Metro's All Communities Convening Open House: State Route 710 Environmental Study Alternatives Analysis Report Information about the five Alternatives that will be further analyzed in the draft environmental document.
San Marino Community Church / 1750 Virginia RD / San Marino, CA 91108

January 26 Saturday 9-11 AM
Metro's All Communities Convening Open House: State Route 710 Environmental Study Alternatives Analysis Report Information about the five Alternatives that will be further analyzed in the draft environmental document.
Cal State Los Angeles Golden Eagle Building: Ballroom / 5151 State University DR /
Los Angeles, CA 90032

Friday, February 1, 2013, 8:30 am - 3 pm
Move LA’s 5th Annual Transportation Conversation
Los Angeles Union Station
Old Ticket Room
800 North Alameda Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

February 6 Wednesday, time tba
Metro's State Route 710 EIR/EIS Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) Meeting #9
To be held at Caltrans / Room TBA
Updated 12/14/12

Port of Miami Tunnel

Project Overview

Port of Miami Tunnel Project RenderingNearly 16,000 vehicles travel to and from the Port of Miami (POM) through downtown streets each weekday. Truck traffic makes up 28% (or 4,480) of this number (Source: 2009 PB Americas Traffic Study). Existing truck and bus routes restrict the port’s ability to grow, drive up costs for port users and present safety hazards. They also congest and limit redevelopment of the northern portion of Miami’s Central Business District.
The benefits of the Port of Miami Tunnel include:
  • Providing a direct connection from the Port of Miami to highways via Watson Island to I-395
  • Keeping the Port of Miami, the County’s second largest economic generator, competitive
  • Making downtown streets safer by reducing congestion on downtown streets
The Port of Miami provides 176,000 jobs, $6.4 billion in wages and $17 billion in economic output.
(Source: 2007 Port of Miami Economic Impact Study).
Planning, Design and Construction
The POMT project is an integral component of a larger program incorporating operational improvements to SR-836 (from the existing toll station to the I-95 Interchange) and I-395. Multiple options for increasing port access were explored. Only the Watson Island tunnel has met all requirements and local, state and federal standards.
The Project will include:
  • Tunnel under Government Cut
  • Roadway work on Dodge and Watson Islands
  • MacArthur Causeway Bridge widening
  • A 43 foot diameter tunnel boring machine specifically constructed for the project will be used.


Do traffic projections indicate a need for additional access to the port?

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.

How will the tunnel affect the movement of freight through the city of Miami?

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.

Will access to the tunnel be limited to trucks?

No. Access to the port tunnel will not be limited to trucks. A significant amount of port traffic is cruise-related and will also be directed to the tunnel instead of the Port Bridge. 

Will traffic be required to use the tunnel?

No. All drivers can still choose to use the Port Bridge, which will remain open, providing a second access in and out of the port.

Will trucks carrying flammable, combustible, or hazardous materials be allowed in the tunnel?

No. Flammable, combustible, or hazardous materials will not be allowed in the tunnel.
(as defined by the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 49 Transportation, Chapter 1 and Subchapter C).

How will trucks be able to turn around if they miss the tunnel entrance?

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.

How will the tunnel be protected against safety hazards?

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.

How will the tunnel be protected against terrorism attacks?

Specific details cannot be outlined due to security reasons, but the project team has taken into account national security standards to prevent the tunnels from being a target of terrorist attacks.


How is the project being built?

The project is being built through a public-private partnership (PPP or P3) that includes the design, build, finance, operation and maintenance of the POMT. It is a 35-year concession agreement, which includes 55 months for design and construction. The firm selected also is responsible for operating and maintaining the tunnel once construction is complete.

What is a Public-Private Partnership, also known as a PPP or P3?

A PPP is a contractual agreement between a public agency, in this case FDOT, and a private sector organization with the qualifications to carry out the specific duties..

What is a Concession Agreement?

A concession agreement is the contract entered into by FDOT and the organization selected in a competitive bidding process to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain the POMT project over a defined term.

Why is a PPP the best approach for this project?

The Port of Miami Tunnel is a highly complex project. The PPP structure transfers most risk for construction cost overruns, schedule delays and the long-term cost of operations and maintenance to the private sector organization. It also guarantees FDOT a fixed long-term cost structure. Additionally, if the selected organization under-performs, FDOT will be able to reduce payments. Such a financial incentive will ensure that the organization builds a quality product and operates and maintains the project in first-class condition.

This approach is also ideal when the public agency does not have full funding in place to construct the project. The PPP allows private financing of a portion of the project costs to deliver the project earlier.

How much will construction cost and how will it be paid for?

Hard construction costs are estimated at $607 million. MAT will be paid $100 million in milestone payments during construction and will self-finance the rest, partly through a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Upon final acceptance, an additional milestone payment of $350 million will be paid to MAT.

Is the contracted team, MAT Concessionaire, LLC, one company or a group of companies?

The winning proposer formed a company only for the purpose of entering into this agreement with FDOT. The two finance investors in the company are Meridiam Infrastructure Finance (made up of nine banks) with 90 percent equity and Bouygues Travaux Publics with 10 percent equity. The company brought in key subcontractors for the design, construction, and operations of the project, some of whom are affiliated with the equity investors

How much will operations and maintenance cost and how is it funded?

Operations and maintenance are estimated at $200 million over 30 years and will be paid for by state funds set aside for this project.

How will the company get back that investment?

The company will regain its investment from payments by FDOT. In addition to the $100 million in construction milestone payments, the company will receive a $350 million payment when it achieves final acceptance of the construction works. The company will use this $350 million final milestone payment to repay debt and equity. FDOT will also make what are known as availability payments to the company during the maintenance and operations portion of the contract. These payments will begin once the tunnel opens to the public and will continue for the remainder of the 35-year agreement. If the tunnel is unavailable for use, or if the company underperforms, it will not receive a full payment.

What are the sources of revenue?

FDOT will make the milestone and availability payments from state funds, as well as local funds contributed by Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami. The county’s contribution includes about $357.5 million in 2009 dollars. The city’s contribution totals $50 million in 2010 dollars. The county and city also donated $45 million and $5 million of right of way, respectively.

What are the maximum earnings per year the company could achieve?

Milestone payments and availability (based on the availability of the tunnel to traffic) payments are the only payments from FDOT to the company. The milestone payments total a maximum of $450 million over the construction period, including a $350 million payment when construction is complete.. Once the tunnel is open to traffic, the company is eligible to begin receiving availability payments with an annual maximum amount of $32.5 million in 2009 dollars plus an adjustment for inflation.

How long will the agreement last?

The 35-year term, including both the construction and operating period, began on Oct. 15, 2009, and ends on Oct. 15, 2044.

What are some other U.S. transportation projects financed and built through PPP?

Recent new construction of U.S. transportation projects financed though PPPs includes:  SH-121, SH-130 segments 5 & 6, and IH 635 in Texas; the Dulles Greenway and I-495 High Occupancy/Toll (HOT) lanes in Virginia; and SR-91 Express lanes in California.

PPPs were also used to provide up-front payments to the public owners and finance significant reconstruction and maintenance of a number of existing facilities in the United States, such as the Chicago Skyway, the Indiana Toll Road and the Pocahontas Parkway in Virginia.

The I-595 Corridor Improvements in Broward County, Florida, and the Port of Miami Tunnel are the first transportation PPP projects in the United States based on availability payments.

Will there be a toll?

Unlike some of the PPPs mentioned above, the tunnel is fully funded within the contract life and does not rely on tolls as a funding or revenue source. Additionally, under the contract, the company cannot  impose tolls to recover its cost.

What is the construction schedule for the project?

(For more details, click here for Construction Schedule)
Oct. 15, 2009
 FDOT signs contract with MAT
May 24, 2010
 Construction begins on Watson Island
Fall 2010
 Construction begins on MacArthur Causeway Bridge
Fall 2010
 Construction begins on Dodge Island
Summer 2011
Tunnel Boring Machine arrives in Miami
Fall 2011
T unnel Boring Machine begins east bound tunnel
Spring 2012
 Tunnel Boring Machine begins west bound tunnel
Spring 2014
 Portof Miami Tunnelis completed

Caldecott Tunnel Fire


 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Caldecott Tunnel fire killed seven people in the north tube of the Caldecott Tunnel, on State Route 24 between Oakland and Orinda in the US state of California just after midnight on 7 April 1982. It is one of the few major tunnel fires involving a cargo normally considered to be highly flammable, namely gasoline.
The Caldecott tunnel complex consists of three tunnels side-by-side, each just over a kilometer long. The north tube, where the fire occurred, is dedicated to westbound traffic, traveling from Orinda to Oakland. It has a slope of approximately 4.7%, going downhill from the entry portal to the exit portal.

 Description of events

Shortly after midnight a driver drifted out of lane and her car struck the tunnel wall. She was legally drunk at the time. She brought the car to rest in the left-hand (fast) lane and got out to inspect the damage. The car was almost halfway through the tunnel. The initial accident created a bottleneck for traffic coming up behind. However, due to the late hour of the accident, there were few other vehicles on the road.

A few minutes later, a double tanker (fixed tank plus trailer-tanker) carrying gasoline arrived at the bottleneck. By chance, there was an empty bus close behind it.

The tanker hit the car. The tanker driver then braked to a halt almost exactly halfway through the tunnel. The bus hit either the car, the tanker or both: the bus driver was thrown clear of his vehicle, which continued driverless along the tunnel and crashed into a bridge column not far outside the exit portal. The driver was killed.

The driver of the tanker investigated the state of his rig; it was clearly unable to move, the trailer tanker was leaking gasoline into the gutters and small fires had started around the leaks. He ran downhill and made it safely out of the exit portal of the tunnel. By this time, burning gasoline from the punctured tanker was flowing down the drainage system.

The natural draught in the tunnel (and the 4.7% gradient) acted as a chimney encouraging the smoke to flow uphill towards the oncoming vehicles and out of the entrance portal. The tunnel ventilation system, which was not switched on at the time of the accident, remained off throughout the event except for a brief period when the level of carbon monoxide exceeded the trigger level.

Approximately 20 vehicles entered the tunnel in the next few minutes. Most drivers managed to reverse out, prompted by the smoke moving towards them. Four vehicles were trapped behind the burning tanker: a private car, a beer truck and two pickups.

The two occupants of the vehicle closest to the fire (one of the pickups) began to reverse out but soon left their vehicle and walked back uphill to warn the road users behind them. Approximately five minutes after the initial crash, one of the pedestrians called for help at one of the emergency telephones. Shortly afterwards, the fire suddenly increased in size and she was overcome by smoke: the tape recording of the call is blank.

Farther east, the occupant of the other pickup left his vehicle and ran out of the entrance portal. The two (elderly) occupants of a private car were overcome by smoke without ever leaving their vehicle.
 The two occupants of the truck were also overcome by smoke, and collapsed and died as they stepped out of the truck cab.

In all, two people died in the initial crash(es), five were killed by the smoke and fire and two were hospitalized for smoke inhalation. All others escaped unharmed.

Unknown to the people fleeing east in the tunnel there were safe passages between the two bores at intervals; these might have enabled some to escape from the fire and smoke, but none of the unlocked doors available was used.


  • Janice Ferris (driver of the stalled car)
  • John Dykes (driver of the bus)
  • June Rutledge (on emergency telephone when a fireball occurred)
  • Everett Kidney (in the beer truck)
  • Melvin Young (in the beer truck)
  • Katherine Lenz and George Lenz (stayed in their car)
  • Steve Rutledge (in the pickup closest to the fire)
  • Paul Petroelje (in the other pickup)

Emergency Response and Fire Development


The Caldecott tunnel complex has a permanently manned control room, and the vibrations from the initial accident were felt by those within it. The operator could also see the bus on CCTV when it emerged from the tunnel and crashed into the column.

Crews were dispatched from two local fire brigades, Orinda and Oakland. Emergency services at the entry portal took charge of those evacuated from the tunnel, while the emergency services at the exit portal were able to walk uphill to within a few tens of metres of the fire.

The first concern of the brigade was to ensure that the gasoline running down the drainage system did not pose an explosion hazard to their firefighting efforts. Unfortunately the valves that should have been used to divert the drainage outfall to a hazardous materials sump were rusted stuck and the gasoline went into a nearby lake.

Firefighting at the site in the tunnel began at 1:30 a.m. once the potentially explosive atmosphere at the lake was under control. However, the heat of the fire had seriously affected the integrity of the tunnel firemain, and the water pressure was insufficient to support a hose stream. In the absence of an effective means of fighting it, the fire was allowed to burn out and the remnants were extinguished with foam and dry powder. The Stop message was issued at 2:54 a.m.

Extent of Damage


The fire burned for between twenty-eight and forty minutes and in this time most of the 8,700 gallons (33,000 litres) of gasoline carried by the truck were consumed. About 250 gallons (1,000 litres) were either discharged into the drainage or recovered from the tanker.

All the heat and smoke from the fire went uphill towards the entry portal, 1720 feet (525 m) away. There was no fire damage west of the fire site.

Brass vehicle components at the tanker melted, indicating that temperatures were slightly over 1800 °F (1000 °C). However, no examples of melted copper (melting point 1981 °F/1083 °C) were found during the clear-up operations, which indicates that the temperatures did not exceed 1800 °F (1000 °C) by much.

The tiles and grout on the walls of the tunnel were damaged and spalled all the way to the entrance portal, 1720 feet (525 m) away.

Over the first 750 feet (230 m) east of the fire site there was spalling of the concrete false ceiling and of the concrete walls behind the tiles. Spalling stopped at the steel reinforcement, approximately 3" (75 mm) below the concrete surface.

Over the first 675 feet (205 m), the steel blanking plates over the ventilation flues in the false ceiling (these blanking plates are used to balance the air supply and extract rates) were buckled by heat and had to be replaced.

The tunnel's wall tiles, firemain, lighting, communications, signage and emergency panels had to be replaced over the whole of the east portion of the tunnel. The ceiling tiles had previously been removed due to poor adhesion. As part of the reconstruction project, enameled metal panels were used to cover the ceiling concrete. The north tube of the tunnel was closed for repairs lasting a period of months; costs of the reconstruction project totaled more than $3 million.