FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A heavily traveled tunnel cutting through the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale has been shut down temporarily.
The Henry E. Kinney Tunnel closed beginning at 7 a.m. Monday.
“It’s necessary for a total closure because when you’re picking up 44-ton beams with one crane, you don’t want anyone near the site just in case anything may happen, even though there are safety precautions that are taken,” project administrator Eric Pineras said.
Starting Monday and lasting through Friday, U.S. 1 south of Broward Boulevard, down to Southeast Seventh Street will be closed entirely, including the Henry E. Kinney Tunnel.
“It will be one week -- one week! It’s terrible for us!” driver Monica Duran said, adding that traffic is already a mess. “Especially all these places -- Andrews, Las Olas -- it’s terrible. It’s a mess.”
It’s part of a $28 million improvement project that will extend the tunnel by 20 feet, upgrade safety and communication systems and add a new pedestrian plaza right on top of the tunnel.
In addition, a portion of Las Olas Boulevard between Southeast 5th and 8th Avenues will also be shut down starting on Wednesday.
“The good thing is that we scheduled this to come in the middle of the summer. People are on vacation, school is out, so it’s traveled less by people, and so the impact will be less on the community,” Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said.
To help drivers steer clear of any construction, several detour and informational signs will be out along the road, as well.
“It doesn’t have to be a week of pain,” Trantalis said. “It’s just finding an alternative route, and we’re gonna get there.”