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Front Page » Transportation » Brickell tunnel under the Miami River gets a unanimous OK

Brickell tunnel under the Miami River gets a unanimous OK

Written by on August 22, 2017
Brickell tunnel under the Miami River gets a unanimous OK

The push to bore a tunnel underneath the Miami River got a boost when the Transportation Planning Organization (TPO)’s Transportation and Mobility Committee voted unanimously last week to add the tunnel to a 2040 long-range transportation plan.

The committee also voted to urge the Florida Department of Transportation to fund and order a study that is required before the county can apply for state or federal money. The matter is to go before the TPO’s full board Sept. 14.

“I don’t have to convince you of the critical need for access between Brickell and downtown, and how difficult it is currently when the [Brickell] bridge is up, how paralyzed those two centers of commerce become,” Francis Suarez, Miami commissioner and committee chair, told fellow committee members. “This is the best idea I could come up with to move people in an efficient and dedicated fashion. The longer we wait, the more expensive it becomes.”

The City of Miami’s downtown area population has increased 37% over the past three years, he said. Sales taxes from businesses downtown and in Brickell contribute $4.5 billion annually – almost 5% – to the state’s budget, he said. “It behooves the state, and all of us, to try to find a way to relieve this bottleneck, because a lot of economic activity centers around our downtown.”

Miami’s Downtown Development Authority has long sought solutions for Brickell-to-downtown gridlock.

The downtown authority has waged battle with the US Coast Guard, Florida Department of Transportation and Miami River Commission over what it says are improper openings of the Brickell Avenue bridge that bring traffic to a standstill downtown and in surrounding areas. So far, it’s a standoff, with the authority calling for help from Sen. Bill Nelson and the river commission getting support from Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

In January, Mr. Suarez, who is a mayoral aspirant, received the authority’s blessing for the tunnel.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that one of our biggest challenges is the inability to get around Miami when that bridge is up,” Mr. Suarez said then. The bridge opens more than 26,000 times per year, costing millions in lost productivity due to snarled traffic, he added.

“Downtown deserves this, and it would cost about one-quarter of what the PortMiami tunnel cost,” Mr. Suarez said.

14 Responses to Brickell tunnel under the Miami River gets a unanimous OK

  1. DC Copeland

    August 23, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Here’s an idea: take that $800 mill allocated for building that “signature bridge” over Biscayne Blvd and put it to paying for the tunnel. 395 still works unless there is an accident along the MacArthur. On the other hand, crossing the Miami River downtown rarely happens without delay and frustration.

  2. Harry E. Gottlieb

    August 23, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    Like the present Brickell Drawbridge installed by FDOT, I hope the tunnel will include a safe, nonslip dedicated bike lane.

  3. Alan Leon

    August 24, 2017 at 8:04 am

    This is all going seem like a huge waste of money when cars start to fly .

  4. Jas33131

    August 24, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    The bridge should remain as it is, and traffic lanes should be restricted to neighborhood-volume width — one lane in each direction. Then the tunnel should go from the MacArthur to the far end of Brickell, NOT inside the CBD or the Financial District. Local traffic is a minority of those cars and everyone knows it. 0 cars should be encouraged to drive through what is now a very dense residential and commercial neighborhood on their way to somewhere completely else.

  5. Unknown

    August 25, 2017 at 8:08 am

    Best news I’ve heard in a while! We really really need something to get done and fast! Businesses and their staff are really frustrated.

  6. Micheal Cody

    August 25, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Get out of your car and use the metromover. Stop making us destroy the city to accommodate your laziness. You might even lose a few pounds.

    • Global Reach

      August 28, 2017 at 9:51 pm

      The Brickell line could only run one car not two cars like the inner loop and sometimes the Omni loop. There metromover needs to be renovated to have a higher car capacity in brickell and needs to be extended throughout brickll.

  7. Paul Granizo

    August 25, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    Couldn’t agree more

  8. Gustavo

    August 26, 2017 at 2:53 am

    Tunnel should be between Brickell and Biscayne by the MacArthur Causeway. Most of the traffic comes from those trying to bypass the Bayfront area.

  9. Unknown

    August 28, 2017 at 11:41 am

    We are still trying to accommodate cars… why? In downtown NY, SF, DC, everyone walks or uses public transport. It is time to move away from cars and move to public transport. #stopbeingLAZY

  10. Skip Van Cel

    August 28, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    I love it! 15 years of approving every project that passes their nose without considering infrastructure. And now they are squealing like pigs that we have too much traffic.

  11. Mike McGee

    August 28, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    Interesting concept idea, if you compare it to the Port of Miami Tunnel or the Kinney Tunnel in downtown Fort Lauderdale
    We know the Port of Miami Tunnel has been a great success.
    In Fort Lauderdale, without the Kinney Tunnel, we would have a drawbridge over the New River and would face the same traffic problems you have over the Miami River.
    It’s a logical solution. Unfortunately, most of us will be dead before it ever gets built. Remember, this is a 2040 plan.

    How could you fast track a great idea?

  12. Mike

    August 29, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    It takes a split second to “ok” a tunnel but 30+ years to expand our transit system. smh

  13. Also Mike

    August 31, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Nobody (almost nobody) in South Florida will use the transit system. Why spend twice as much time to ride into work on filthy buses.
    If you are talking about trains,they only go north and south. It needs to go out west in spurs or, circle the metropolitan area so that people in the suburbs can right it into the city. Just like DC, NY, Philly.