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Published: Jan 01, 2014 11:13 AM EST

MIAMI (AP) - A $1 billion tunnel connecting the Port of Miami with nearby expressways is on track to open to traffic later this year.
The Miami Herald reports ( ) that workers have begun building the roads that will allow cargo trucks, tourist buses and other vehicles to travel under Biscayne Bay.
Officials have said the tunnel will open to traffic in May. The project is intended to reduce traffic in downtown Miami.
The drilling of the tunnel took about a year and half.
Miami Access Tunnel Vice President Chris Hodgkins says that if a major hurricane approaches, 50-ton metal gates at the tunnel's entrances will close to prevent flooding.
The tunnel is part of a major port overhaul designed to complement the expansion of the Panama Canal, scheduled for completion in 2015.
Information from: The Miami Herald,

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