Elon Musk Wants To Build an EV Tunnel in Miami
Elon Musk wants to build an underground transit system for electric vehicles under Miami. Picture this:
This isn’t breaking news. As early as January Tesla’s Technoking was talking about the possibility of building an EV tunnel under the Brickell Avenue Bridge to connect Brickell Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard.
If you’ve ever driven in Brickell then you know that this is one of the worst bottlenecks in the city and it should be avoided whenever possible.
Miami isn’t the only place where Musk is building EV tunnels. The Boring Co. (a very Muskesque name) also has projects in Ontario, Canada, and Las Vegas, Nevada.
Over the weekend Mayor Francis Suarez and some other officials visited Las Vegas to tour the “Vegas Loop” which is about 15 miles long, and will purportedly cut a 30 min commute down to 3.
It appears the Mayor loved what he saw because he has come back with a bigger plan for Miami. This one includes an underground tunnel stretching from Brickell all the way to Little Haiti, with several stops along the way.
You get in a car, and you go through a tunnel.
Mayor Francis Suarez
Sounds simple enough. But is it feasible? Florida is built on limestone, which presents a problem.
It’s the sinkhole capital of the United States, let’s start from there. If you want to have a tunnel, you need to pump the water out of the tunnel as you go.And when you hit a cave or you puncture a cavity, it changes the pressure. It’s like popping your car into neutral while you’re on the highway.
Mika McKinnon, field geologist, disaster researcher
But Mayor Suarez rebuts that the soil under Las Vegas is much more dense.
So it’s actually a lot harder to penetrate than it would be here.
Mayor Francis Suarez
I don’t know. I’m not an expert on the subject, so I’m going to trust the geologist who gave me an analogy over the politician who gave me a “well, actually.”
What about the costs? The initial proposal is for The Boring Co. to pay for the system, financed by riders through a user-fee model.
Early estimates are putting it at $10M per mile. Yikes.
There are about 6 miles separating Brickell and Little Haiti, so that would make a minimum of 12 miles if it’s going to be a loop system like the one in Las Vegas.
12 miles x $10M = $120M
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think the actual costs will be closer to $250-300M.
The Boring Co. had initially estimated the cost of the Ontario project to be $45M, but that turned out to be way off and their final bid came in at $85M.
That tunnel was just 4 miles long, btw.
Then comes the issue of how long it would take to build. Last month Mayor Suarez said the tunnel under the Brickell Avenue Bridge could be done in as little as 6 months.
Yesterday he said a one-year timeline for the new, larger vision is realistic.
I’m not an engineer, nor am I an expert on time, but that sounds impossible.
So will it happen? Maybe.
Musk has deep enough pockets and a project like this aligns perfectly with Mayor Suarez’s ongoing efforts to make Miami the place for finance and tech companies.
One thing is for sure: no matter what they do, Miami traffic will always be THE WORST.
Cover art: Teslarati