Miami Commissioner Renews Push For Brickell Tunnel

Miami’s leaders continue to push for a tunnel under the Miami River as downtown traffic continues to deteriorate.

The idea has been discussed for at least fifteen years.

Last week, Miami commissioner Francis Suarez made a presentation to a board meeting of the Downtown Development Authority, according to Miami Today. Suarez reportedly claimed that the Brickell Avenue bridge opens more than 26,000 times per year (or 72 times a day).

The area surrounding the bridge is likely the most economically productive in Florida, with a high concentration of offices, residents and retail. The marine traffic causing the bridge openings are mostly cheap exports to the Caribbean or pleasure craft.

DDA board members are said to have agreed with Suarez, and the commissioner is pushing for local and national politicians to join the effort.

 

(photo: phillip pessar)

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Marc305
4 years ago

A lot of nay-sayers already on the comment section but the reality is that this plan is not 15 years old, it has actually been studied since the 1960’s. Yes, it is not only possible to build it but necessary. The need for boats to use the river is not going away and traffic will only keep increasing with time. If you are a pedestrian use the Metromover, problem solved. Let engineers do what they do and make it happen.

suomynona
4 years ago

I love Francis Suarez’s transportation improvements mindset.

There is not one single good reason as to why this shouldn’t be built. It’s certainly possible if the port tunnel was possible. And it may be expensive but the economic benefit from the millions of hours GAINED by people not being stuck at a drawbridge every year will make up for that. Not to mention maybe there could be increased marine traffic which will also generate increased revenue.

Every bridge between Brickell and NW 12th Ave should be under the river. There should be a study done. And it should apply for a massive federal funding grant. If only Miami were forward thinking, they’d already have this done and might have possibly had a chance at getting it on Drumpf’s infrastructure list.

Did I mention I love this Francis Suarez guy?

Mike04
4 years ago
Anonymous
4 years ago

somebody explain to me why pedestrians cant walk under the river with the tunnel as well?…

Add
4 years ago

Very true, ithink pplwould enjoy a nee alternative

Anonymous
4 years ago

The issue is the lead in and lead out space needed to dig down deep enough. While arguably it could connect around the bay side of Bayfront, it’s a major ($$$) engineering challenge.

Anonymous
4 years ago

Pedestrians should not be forced to use the metromover, the whole point of a downtown is walkablity. It is a simple solution build a small pedestrian bridge which is the same height as the mover bridge and metrorail bridges therefore it won’t need to close for boats. The bridge won’t be that expensive because the size and weight requirements do not need to accommodate cars and trucks. Escalators or elevators can be used if the gradient of the walkway is too steep.

Gus
4 years ago

Not dismissing the idea of the tunnel outright but to pursue one which would cost hundreds of millions of dollars and cause right-of-way / accessibility nightmares for the surrounding buildings before even seriously attempting to enforce the current draw bridge agreement is insane. There’s an existing agreement between the Coast Guard, FDOT, and City that is supposed to limit the amount of openings. Every study I’ve seen so far, echoed again here by the findings that it is opened 72 times a day, have shown that the agreement is blatantly ignored.
Now, it might very well be the case that even IF the agreement were adhered to, it would still not be enough. Furthermore, it is also possible that no amendment or strengthening of said agreement would be enough either and that a tunnel is the only viable solution. To build that without at least testing the essentially free and immediately-implementable option is a huge mistake. The idea of a tunnel however, does make for a splashy headline and, considering that Commissioner Suarez is running for Mayor this year, it could also just be smoke-and-mirrors.

Marc
4 years ago

The agreement is a joke. I live right on the river in Brickell and just yesterday they had a container ship towed out to the bay at 8:05 am…

The river is still a WORKING river. Tunneling one street where all the rich people drive their fancy cars doesn’t solve much. These large container ships are heading all the way up past 27th ave, causing headaches everywhere. But hey! Let’s just solve the problem for the wealthy and ignore the rest of the infrastructure problems in the city/county.

Anonymous
4 years ago

It has nothing to do with catering to ‘rich people in their fancy cars’. This is about crippling an economic driver magnitudes bigger than the working river.

Anonymous
4 years ago

Crippling how? Brickell has transit. Brickell has walkability. Most people know better than to buy in Brickell if they don’t work there. For those that work, but don’t live, there, simple, cheap solution: park & ride. Much worse public work issues than this.

Edin
4 years ago

Our developers,investors (domestic and foreign),architectural and construction companies,are doing really great job in making and transforming Miami into
world class city.On the other side,our sleepy,city and county officials,doing NOTHING.All talk,and no action.Even,when they have money,ready to invest in some important projects
(I-395 bridge,redevelopment of Biscayne Blvd,beautification of Brickell avenue),they waiting years,and years to move on with these projects.I just can imagine how many years will take
to go on with some of Miami CAPITAL projects (Miami METRO,Brickell avenue tunnel,MB
street cars…).Without these,and the others important
projects (MIA,Miami Port,schools,hospitals,parks…)
Miami,will never be,world class
city,we are all wish to be.There is no time to wait, we need action now.Wake up MIAMI.

Anonymous
4 years ago

Whats the purpose of a tunnel when the traffic it will be funneling will only have two lanes in biscayne blvd soon.

Anonymous
4 years ago

As long as the contributing historic features of the bridge like the streetlights and bridge tender’s house are preserved, maybe moved to Miami Avenue and the Brickell statue down the avenue, I’m fine with it.

Also, the amount of grade separation required for a tunnel will create a border vacuum and diminish future street interaction, however could allow for better pedestrianization along the river.

However, money actually spent on better mass transit and streets could still be more feasible than a tunnel. Concerning the bridge openings, enforce the times and crack down on the shady junkers and businesses. The Chicago Loop has drawbridges, but Brickell bridge traffic is rare.

Anonymous
4 years ago

Tunneling tech has undergone a revolution including falling costs associated. That is why Musk is getting into the business. It can also be engineered to withstand tidal surges as necessary. And it does not effect the environment. Perfect for a public-private partnership. No brainer really.

suomynona
4 years ago

Huge Musk fan. But I think his tunnel company idea is stupid. More roads doesn’t improve traffic. It encourages more vehicles and more vehicles obviously don’t improve traffic. If the tunnels are strictly for mass transit or the hyperloop or some other *beneficial* mode of transportation, then I’m all for it. But that doesn’t seem to be what he’s talking about.

Aj
4 years ago

This is the reason no1 I cite when I advice my friends to completely avoid brickell from their consideration when they are buying. The problem will only get worse. If you rent in brickell, you can up and move when the going gets even more tough. Since this tunnel is not going to happen (if at all) for another 20 years, just buy in downtown, edgewater or midtown and save yourself a lot of heart burn.

JoeLMiami
4 years ago

With regards to the bridge opening 26,000 times/year or 72 times/day I would challenge that and truly do not believe it. It seems as if they are off by a “0”, and 2,600 times/year or 7.2 times/day seems more reasonable. I live in the area and have a direct view of the river and bridge and the bridge does open at all times of the day whether it’s 9am or 9pm, but most river traffic seems to come thru during working hours, 9am-6pm so regardless it is a huge inconvenience to anyone driving or walking including public transportation. Plus I know local businesses suffer because many people especially office workers during lunch time do not want to get stuck at the bridge and lose time out of their lunch. Something definitely needs to be done, I just think the tunnel is a terrible idea, and won’t work for the area. Anyone know if it is a possibility to raise the bridge to the height of the Metromover bridge??? I am sure there are engineers out there that could figure it out.

With all the money going towards the new (and useless) I-395 flyover, something needs to be done with the Brickell bridge. How and why would the I-395 project get the greenlight before this???

Anonymous
4 years ago

This would be great for only for the people of Brickell. Hopefully the City of Miami will fund all of the money for this project. Miami-Dade County has so many more important transportation issues and project that they should be working on, a Brickell tunnel is minor.

xox
4 years ago

Do you have any idea how large the workforce is in downtown and brickell? This is not a project for the ‘rich’, this is a project for our city and a solution to a horrible problem. If you don’t know is because you work at DORAL but then you have all the work being done a 826 and 836 and you don’t complain for those improvements.

Anonymous
4 years ago

There’s already a solution: the Metrorail. Work in Brickell and don’t live there? Park & Ride

Wang
4 years ago

Maybe they should build a tunnel, but for the boats. 🙂

Anonymous
4 years ago

Why not increase the public transportation ? Miami needs better transportation for everybody, it is insane do a tunnel when we don’t have a train to miami beach, or a station inn a good location in Doral or Aventura.
Not agree with this investment .

Anonymous
4 years ago

Even if this tunnel gets built that light at 8th street to Brickell Key causes a lot of traffic for southbound drivers.

Anonymous
4 years ago

LOVE IT!! sea level rise is imminent and here we are burrowing lower into the ground!!! Great Idea! Good luck getting financing for that!

Anonymous
4 years ago

Who needs financing when you have free government money? Weeeeee

suomynona
4 years ago

Uh, what do you think the point of tax dollars are for if not for infrastructure projects like this?

Anonymous
4 years ago

Great idea! Let’s vibrate the hell out of the waterfront ground surrounded by office buildings and condos. I’m sure nothing can go wrong. And once built, the traffic will never get backed up in the tunnel. Try spending the time, effort and the few hundred million they’ll spend on improving the metro-rail and metro-mover service.

xox
4 years ago

it has been done arround the world for decades and does not represent a problem to buildings…even Fortlauderdale has a tunnel under the river.

Anonymous
4 years ago

Never gonna happen. A tunnel would reduce walk-ability between Brickell and downtown Miami. The residents of all the buildings near this bridge would have to walk all the way to the metromover (which sometimes doesn’t even work) or Miami Ave just to get to Whole Foods, the new cinema, BCC, work, etc. Learn to not be dependent on your car in Miami or prepare for the consequences! The trend is against this.

Anonymous
4 years ago

Leave the existing bridge and modify it for pedestrian access… simple solution. Brickell and Downtown can’t continue to function with the bridge as-is and another 20,000+ residents will only make matters (much) worse.

Yet Another Anonymous
4 years ago

As simple as it sounds, for site considerations, I could not imagine they would leave the existing bridge and road in place.

Anonymous
4 years ago

Yah, turn the old road area into green space and create a pedestrian draw bridge or further elevated bridge. It could be a great addition to the area.

xox
4 years ago

EXACTLY!!!

Add
4 years ago

Wrong, they would build a pedestrian bridge above the river, you need to think outside the box!

xox
4 years ago

What about an airport band for pedestrians in a designated micro tunnel next to the car tunnel….it would be the first one!!

Marc305
4 years ago

Everyone wants their needs to be satisfied first. Pedestrians want to walk and not take the Metromover, boat owners want the bridge to go up whenever they feel like it, and car drivers don’t want to wait for a bridge that goes up 72 times a day. A tunnel would alleviate the needs of boat owners and car drivers. I work and live in Brickell so I am a full time pedestrian, a part time car driver, and I do not own a boat. I will be glad to do my part and ride the Metromover when I need it so that traffic and the pollution that it causes can go down between Brickell and Downtown.

Anonymous
4 years ago

The hero we need, but not the one we deserve

xox
4 years ago

Just because you can’t imagine it doesn’t mean I can’t be done. sure that is part of the problem but architects and engineers will look for a very creative solution. Creativity starts when your mind is put to work!!! Just imagine the bridge gone, continuation of the park all the way to the future One Brickell with a very nice river walk. Same thing happening on the downtown side right next to Epic. And possibly a Calatrava bridge for pedestrians that would be operable when necessary. Have you seen the Frank Gehry pedestrian bridge a Millennium Park in Chicago?