Fort Lauderdale could get its own Tesla loop for easier beach access
Fort Lauderdale just announced the city is one step closer to giving the green light for Teslas to transport people from the downtown area to the beach in underground tunnels. It's Elon Musk's hyperloop concept currently being used in Las Vegas.
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On Tuesday, July 6, local officials formally accepted a bid for a pair of 3-mile-long tunnels (one headed toward the water, one back toward downtown) from The Boring Company, a side-project of Tesla and SpaceX frontman Elon Musk.
Dubbed the “Las Olas Loop” after the city’s beach, the project is intended to “provide quicker and more efficient access between downtown and the beach as well as alleviate street-level traffic.”
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis tweeted that “Other firms have 45 days to submit competing proposals.” No further details about The Boring Company’s proposal are permitted until the end of that bidding process per state law, however The Sun Sentinal did report that The Boring Company quoted the city a project cost of $10 million to $12 million per mile, totaling between $60 million and $72 million.
If completed, the pair would increase the number of tunnels in Florida by 100%. There are currently only two tunnels in the entire state: the New River Tunnel in Fort Lauderdale and the Port of Miami Tunnel. Part of the reason so few tunnels exist in Florida is because its geology is largely limestone.
The rock is particularly challenging to tunnel through because it’s naturally porous and tunnel builders typically prefer solid rock or soil. High levels of groundwater and rainfall also make tunneling in the Sunshine State difficult. Any complications could drive up the final price. Still, Florida leaders are excited about the prospect, especially as their populations swell and land becomes even more of a commodity.
Miami is also in talks with The Boring Company.
Related: Elon Musk just opened LA's first Boring Company tunnel
Related: A ride on the Tesla loop in Las Vegas
This announcement comes just over a month after the opening of the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop, also constructed by The Boring Company. The $47 million Las Vegas iteration similarly uses two one-way tunnels in which passengers move between three stations, a total of 1.7 miles apart. According to the company’s website, it shortens a 45-minute walk across the sprawling convention center campus to a two-minute ride. Other cities, like Chicago and Baltimore-Washington, D.C., were previously in talks with The Boring Company, but those potential projects are no longer on the company’s website.
The Boring tunnels are supposed to help the problem of traffic gridlock.
While the original Las Vegas concept was meant to have autonomous electric 16-passenger pods that would zoom along at 150 mph, what was delivered was comparatively underwhelming. Right now, a fleet of Tesla Model Xs, driven by humans at no more than 35 mph, are what patrols the tunnels. It’s too soon to say whether or not the Florida project would more closely resemble its Nevada cousin or the futuristic model of Musk’s dreams.
The goal is to eliminate the need for human drivers, but that appears, for now, to be a ways off.