Fort Lauderdale Train Tunnel Would Be Costly $3.3 Billion Solution to Free Up New River

A recommendation to move trains under the New River instead of over an existing drawbridge comes with a hefty price tag.

1 minute read

February 5, 2020, 6:00 AM PST

By Camille Fink

Virgin Trains USA

Jillian Cain Photography / Shutterstock

A new study recommends a tunnel under the New River for trains running through downtown Fort Lauderdale, reports Susannah Bryan. "The Florida Legislature ordered the study after hearing from a local marine industry fed up with seeing boat traffic delayed by Brightline [express] trains and freight trains that speed down the Florida East Coast Railway tracks."

But the cost for a tunnel would be high — $3.3 billion to build and an additional $8.2 million annually for maintenance. An alternative to the current drawbridge would be much less expensive, a new bridge over the river, with the priciest option coming in at under $500 million to build and $2.4 million a year to maintain.

While the high cost of a tunnel remains an obstacle, proponents of the idea argue that it would mean fewer delays for boats and less congestion on the waterway. "Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis likes the idea of a tunnel over that of a supersized bridge that would split downtown Fort Lauderdale down the middle, severing the urban landscape," notes Bryan.

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