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United States

AirportLink Metrorail Miami (DB)

The AirportLink is a 22-mile-long elevated railway with a network of 22 stations spanning from South Miami to the Miami International Airport. OHLA USA companies OHLA USA, Inc. (OHLA USA), Community Asphalt Corp. (CAC) and Building, participated in a
joint venture that successfully completed the 2.4-mile AirportLink Metrorail Extension project, which connected Earlington Heights station in downtown Miami to the Miami Intermodal Center adjacent to the airport. 

The scope of work included a dual-track elevated guideway, consisting of about a mile of segmental bridge construction on top of 573 drilled shafts, and 1.4 miles of precast U-beam construction on top of 404 auger cast piles. The joint venture performed extensive trackwork, installing 5 miles of rail, plinth pads, restraining wall, bump posts, fixations fasteners and switches, as well as associated operating systems and three traction power
substations. OHLA USA also constructed a three‐level, 78,000-square-foot passenger station, featuring a bus plaza and other intermodal transportation connections. Since the station is located close to the Atlantic Ocean, the design team took into consideration a threat of hurricaneforce winds. Station’s curvilinear canopy consist of 156 proprietary engineered panels, which during wind-tunnel testing, withstood winds of 250 miles per hour, or twice that of a category five hurricane.

A major challenge was efficiently getting manpower, equipment and materials to specific areas of the project. The guideway, with average height of about 45 feet, runs through a primarily industrial area, crosses over the Miami River, State Road 112 and the CSX railroad tracks. OHLA USA used a barge as a construction platform to lift bridge segments into place and coordinated its activities with the U.S. Coast Guard to maintain boat traffic on the Miami River. Constructing guideway over SR 112 required extensive traffic shifts and detours, while crossing CSX tracks involved detailed crane lifting plans and coordination with the onsite railroad flaggers.

Main features:

  • Construction of 2.4 miles of doubletrack elevated heavy-rail guideway
  • Construction over operational rail linesand a highly congested highway
  • Construction of a three-level passenger station
  • 2 million hours of work without an injury


  • 2012 – OSHA - Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) STAR Status
  • 2013 – Engineering News Record - Global Best Projects, Award of Merit
  • 2013 – Engineering News Record - Excellence in Safety Award