In his ongoing plan to dominate the world by constantly trying to reinvent the norm, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk thrives on making the impossible seem possible. But sometimes, something seems impossible for the very reason that it is impossible—or, at the very least, is ill-advised. Case in point: Musk’s new burning desire to build an underground tunnel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida through his Boring Company. Which is a really, really terrible idea. Even if the city’s mayor doesn’t get that.
On Tuesday, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis tweeted that the city had formally accepted a proposal from Musk’s Boring Company “to build an underground transit system between downtown and the beach” and added that, “This could be a truly innovative way to reduce traffic congestion.”
Fort Lauderdale formally accepted tonight a proposal from @elonmusk's @boringcompany to build an underground transit system between downtown and the beach. Other firms have 45 days to submit competing proposals. This could be a truly innovative way to reduce traffic congestion. pic.twitter.com/R7Bh2NPVnl
— Mayor Dean J. Trantalis (@DeanTrantalis) July 7, 2021
Well, no duh. Except that surging sea levels are already creating massive flooding on a regular basis and are putting the city in a precarious position—the kind that could make installing an underground tunnel an absolute nightmare. Earther was pretty forthright in its assessment of the situation:
I hope everyone there has a submarine to use in this new tunnel because it looks like it is going to be underwater before long. Elon’s tunnel projects haven’t exactly gone well in the past—just look at accounts from test rides of the Boring Company’s Los Angeles “hyperloop.” But building one in Fort Lauderdale comes with a whole other set of issues.
Like all of South Florida, Fort Lauderdale faces an extreme threat from sea level rise. The ocean there has risen by up to eight inches (20.3 centimeters) since 1950. Most Fort Lauderdale residents live less than five feet (1.5 meters) above sea level, including a majority in areas deemed Special Flood Hazard Areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Things could get much worse, though. A conservative estimate forecasts up to two feet (0.6 meters) of sea level rise could hit Fort Lauderdale by mid-century, which would vastly increase the risk of flooding.
The project, known as The Las Olas Loop (a reference to the main road that connects residents to the beach), would mimic the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) Loop that opened in Sin City last month, a 1.7-mile-long loop that connects three stations. In the case of The Las Olas Loop, CNN reports that beachgoers would fork over about $5 to $8 per person to be driven underground (in a Tesla, of course) from the main station to the beach—avoiding all that pesky traffic.
While CNN reports that there are a grand total of just two tunnel projects in the Sunshine State because of the porousness of its limestone, which causes issues for tunneling machines, Mayor Trantalis is assuring everyone that he, city officials, and the Boring brass are doing further studies on the surrounding geology to confirm the project’s feasibility.