Fort Lauderdale is Optimistic about Las Olas Loop Project
Elon Musk’s, The Boring Company, which went viral years ago for the famous “flamethrower”, is getting close to the tech billionaire's vision of building a tunnel system in Fort Lauderdale.
The city recently agreed to pay The Boring Company $375,000 to study the costs and potential plans of building an underground loop for residents driving from downtown Fort Lauderdale to the city’s beach. The name of the tunnel, Las Olas Loop, is focused on cutting traffic congestion.
Fort Lauderdale’s Tunnel Vision
The city’s commissioners voted 3-1 on the proposed budget to fund the cost analysis of the project. However, not everyone in the city agreed. Residents who attended the commissioner meeting, voiced their concerns regarding tunnel traffic choke points, disabled vehicles causing traffic issues, and potential flooding hazards during natural disasters or storms.
These are legitimate concerns, knowing that the city is prone to flooding.
According to Fort Lauderdale City Manager Chris Lagerbloom, The Boring Company’s initial cost estimate for a two-tunnel loop ranges from $60 - $90 million.
Las Olas Loop Plan Details
The cost the city is paying The Boring Company for their analysis is a reimbursement agreement. The city will reimburse Musk’s company for the project in the following amounts
- $50,000 for analysis of planned tunnels
- $100,000 for architectural and civil blueprints of the tunnels and station
- $225,000 for geotechnical reports
Currently, the city has an interim agreement with The Boring Company, that requires them to report every 30 days on the progress of the project, along with details surrounding the underground utilities, launch sites, stations, and maintenance facilities required for the Las Olas Loop.
City Officials Optimistic About Tunnel System
Thankfully for city officials, Fort Lauderdale won’t be the first test site for The Boring Company’s tunnel project. The plan for Las Olas Loop is largely based on the company’s current tunnel project in Las Vegas. The Vegas Loop will include the LVCC Loop (Las Vegas Convention Center), an existing loop system that was also built by The Boring Company.
In total, these two tunnel systems comprise over 30 miles of underground networks that will connect the airport, downtown Las Vegas, and the casino strip. The city and Musk’s company, have a bold vision to one day connect Las Vegas with Los Angeles via this tunnel system.
Now of course building tunnels in the arid desert of Nevada is different from the peninsula of Florida. Fort Lauderdale’s location will present unique obstacles for The Boring Company’s analysis, which if done correctly, will highlight potential problems of building an extensive tunnel system in a city right next to the Atlantic Ocean.
“The numbers are increasing very nicely in terms of the number of people who are using the [Las Vegas] system,” said Fort Lauderdale commissioner Ben Sorenson.
According to Sorenson, he shares a bold vision of one day having Las Olas Loop connect downtown Fort Lauderdale and the city’s beach to Hollywood International Airport and Lockhart Stadium.
Tunnel Systems' Impact on Real Estate
Historically infrastructure surrounding vehicles, mainly highways and freeways, have had positive impacts on property values. For homeowners that are in close proximity to commuting corridors, home values typically increase.
Additionally, underground public transit systems also have a positive impact on property values. According to a study published in Real Estate Economics in 2019, the impact of a new subway line on housing prices in Shanghai found that the commuting benefits of a new subway line increased housing prices by 3.8%.
As far as intricate underground tunnel systems go, the jury is still out on whether it will make a positive impact to property values. Fort Lauderdale’s future Las Olas Loop will likely follow the trend of major highways and freeways making resident and tourist travel more efficient, as well as creating buzz around using the tunnel itself.