PITTSBURGH – PPG Industries’ coil and building products group supplied DURANAR® XL and DURACRON® coatings to the recently opened Port of Miami Tunnel, which is made up of two 4,200-foot-long highway tunnels that travel under Biscayne Bay, connecting the MacArthur Causeway on Watson Island to the Port of Miami on Dodge Island.

Duranar XL coating - specified by Arquitectonica, the Miami-based architectural firm that designed the tunnels - is a three-part coating system consisting of a urethane primer coat, a decorative color coat and a protective fluoropolymer clearcoat. Arquitectonica selected Duranar XL Crystal Blue coating to cover the 4,000 metal panels lining both sets of tunnel walls.

Phil Buhr, PPG Product Manager, Coil and Building Products Group, said the selection of Duranar XL coating for a transportation project is unusual but makes sense for the Port of Miami tunnels. “As a high-end coating system, Duranar XL coating is more commonly specified for monumental architectural projects and storefronts that demand long-term colorfastness, gloss retention and chalk resistance,” he said. “All of those performance factors and the ease of cleaning made Duranar XL coating an ideal choice for a high-visibility project like this, where the architect and project owners were determined to find a coating that would look good even after decades of constant exposure to humidity, salt air and automobile exhaust.”

The solid aluminum plate panels and the hidden lattice-like framework behind them were fabricated by Metalwërks, Kennett Square, PA, a product manufacturer and specialty contractor of architectural metal cladding and ornamental metal. The decorative panels were painted by Precoat Metal, St. Louis, and the lattice work was painted by Spectrum Metal Finishing, Youngstown, OH, a member of the PPG CAP CERTIFIED APPLICATOR PROGRAM® group. Duracron acrylic extrusion coatings by PPG were applied to most of the lattice work to provide a durable system for the large-panel mounts. Bouygues Civil Works Florida (BCWF), Miami, was the design-build contractor.

The Port of Miami Tunnel is a $667 million project that incorporates three distinct components. In addition to the twin underwater tunnels, which opened to traffic August 3, the project includes improved connections to the Port of Miami roadway system as well as widening and realignment of the MacArthur Causeway Bridge to provide direct access between Miami’s seaport and the Interstate 95 and Interstate 395 highways. As many as 16,000 vehicles are expected to travel through the tunnels each month.