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Curved panels enter tunnel design

Kennett Square, Pa.-based Metal Sales & Service Inc. created fabrication drawings, pre-positioned and fabricated raw materials for Port of Miami Tunnel, Miami, which spans Biscayne Bay and was completed in May 2014.

Kennett Square, Pa.-based Metal Sales & Service Inc. created fabrication drawings, pre-positioned and fabricated raw materials for Port of Miami Tunnel, Miami, which spans Biscayne Bay and was completed in May 2014. The design of the system required Metal Sales & Service's Metalwërks factory pre-finished aluminum architectural panels, structural aluminum mullion framing, pressure plates, snap covers and anchorage system to complete the interior facing of the curved tunnel walls.

The transitional areas at the tunnel exit and entry points inside the concrete bulkhead structures and the five cross passage tunnel portals connecting the two 40-foot diameter tunnel bores were clad with Metalwërks Arcwall aluminum plate wall system. Miami-based Arquitectonica International Corp., the architecture firm for the project, specified Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries' three-coat Duranar XL Crystal Springs and Raccoon Fur Gray for all the exposed surfaces of assemblies facing the tunnel walls. The Duranar XL coating was specified in Crystal Blue to coat 4,000 metal panels lining the tunnel walls.

Interior curved tunnel walls were clad with a custom-designed pressure wall panel system with a curved framing system and glazed-in panels. Exterior bulkhead walls were clad with Metalwërks Arcwall Plate Pressure Equalized Rain Screen (PERS). Four 4,200-foot walls, 16,800 feet total, were clad with Arcwall panels.

Miami-based Bouygues Civil Works Florida Inc., the design-build contractor for the project, specified Metalwërks panels after a referral from John Wheaton, PE, LEED BD&C, president of Wheaton and Sprague Engineering Inc., Stow, Ohio, the design engineer for wall cladding in the project.

Wheaton says he recommended Metal Sales & Service for its ability to fabricate, install and add value with intellectual capital. "The team has proven to be highly capable and distinguish themselves in a commodity market," he says.

Conceptual drawings evolved during the development process with Metal Sales & Service's input to create custom details at nonstandard areas of work and optimize fabrication and installation during the design finishing process in response to a compressed schedule. The system components were produced and staged for shipment at Metal Sales & Service's facilities in Elkton, Md., to sequence with the installation schedule. "This was a challenging project with a tight turnaround and not many other firms I know could have handled the job with such determination," Wheaton says.

McMurray, Pa.-based Viking Erectors Corp., a division of Mohawk Construction and Supply Co. Inc., the installer for the project, performed on-site project management with Bob Anderson, project manager at Metal Sales & Service. Mohawk Construction and Supply provided layout and coordination with precedent trades, staging materials and installing the Metalwërks anchor clips, framing and panel systems.

Steve Scharr, director of business development at Metal Sales & Service, says this was one of the most challenging projects his company undertook because of the compressed schedule. "We assembled an excellent team of vendors, project managers and our subcontract installer was top notch," he says. "This was truly a well-choreographed collaboration from the original estimate through contract negotiations and final execution."

The $667 million project links the cruise ship port to Interstate 395 and Interstate 95. The tunnel, projected to accommodate approximately 16,000 vehicles per month, will ease traffic congestion in downtown Miami and provide access to commuters, visitors and cargo trucks.

Metalwërks by Metal Sales & Service Inc., www.metalwërksusa.com