Unless you frequent Florida, you may be surprised to read that in a state of 20 million residents, there is only one real tunnel in the whole state. Not counting the two small tunnels in Walt Disney World, Fort Lauderdale’s New River Tunnel (Henry E. Kinney Tunnel) is the state’s only tunnel.
The tunnel carries U.S. 1 (Federal Highway) under the New River and Las Olas Boulevard in Downtown Fort Lauderdale. It opened in 1960 and replaced a drawbridge built in 1926, that over time proved to be inefficient at getting cars across the river.
For locals, it can be an exciting trip to be able to go through the tunnel, even if it you’re out on the other side in about ten seconds. For the rest of the world, they may never even notice the tunnel. At 263 meters in length, it may very well be the world’s shortest tunnel. It is still, however, an interesting urban feature in a state with scarce underground construction. Florida’s high water table makes underground construction prohibitive. This explains the lack of basements and underground parking garages in Florida.
In May 2014, the New River Tunnel will be joined by another, much larger tunnel- the Port Miami Tunnel. The port tunnel will span 1.2 kilometers (3/4 of a mile) from Watson Island to Dodge Island going 37 meters (12o feet) under Biscayne Bay. So, until May 2014, take a ride through the New River Tunnel. It’s ten seconds of fun!