Fort Lauderdale moving closer to enlisting Elon Musk’s help for a two-mile tunnel to the beach

Fort Lauderdale – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Sean Pavone

Two months ago, Florida Insider covered a story highlighting the potential of Miami enlisting the help of Tesla Inc. founder Elon Musk to build tunnels in the city to alleviate traffic congestion.

After a flurry of tweets between Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and the billionaire mogul gained traction, the idea of creating a new flow of traffic in one of the most heavily congested cities in the world came to the forefront.

While the idea was certainly met with its fair share of criticism, it was also met with an immense amount of support. The Miami Mayor has been courting big-tech to “set up shop” in the South Florida city during the pandemic and so far has been successful in those hopes of making Miami a new business and tech hub.

Now, Miami’s Broward County sibling Fort Lauderdale is jumping in on the tunnel action with Musk.

Local leaders from Fort Lauderdale are in talks with Musk’s The Boring Company in hopes of building a two-mile underground tunnel that would connect the downtown area to the beach. Rides would be offered for between $5-8.

But because of Florida’s complicated geology and proximity to the water table, underground/underwater tunnels prove to be costly and tricky projects. In fact, tunnels are so rare in Florida that there are only two— the New River Tunnel in Fort Lauderdale and the Port of Miami Tunnel beneath Biscayne Bay. Coincidentally, the two cities that have actively sought Elon Musk’s counsel and potential services.

“You see them where nothing else works because they’re generally more expensive,” said Brian Gettinger at infrastructure company Freese and Nichols.

The January Twitter exchange between Mayor Suarez and Musk inspired Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis to reach out to The Boring Company in search of a traffic alleviating solution. Trantalis has mulled about the possibility of creating a tunnel for trains under a stretch of the city for some time but has been told by state officials that it would cost an exorbitant amount of money. Instead, the Fort Lauderdale mayor wants to enlist Musk’s tunnel building experience on a smaller scale, such as the downtown to beach project.

While no contract has been signed between the city and The Boring Company, it has been reported that the two parties are actively studying the local geology to determine a path for a project.

Tunnels may eventually be the wave of the future in major cities such as Fort Lauderdale and Miami as the population grows. With less and less surface real estate available, traffic will only increase on the streets and afford the possibility of expanding and using alternate avenues to alleviate traffic.

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