Federal Highway (U.S. 1) and the New River in Fort Lauderdale
By Jane Feehan
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A bridge carrying U.S 1 over Fort Lauderdale’s New River opened in August, 1926. As the city grew so did its traffic. At times it took as long as 45 minutes to get from one side of the bridge to the other, causing backups along U.S. 1 and into downtown. It was known as the worst traffic jam in the state.
There were discussions in the 1940s, before the explosive growth of the following decade, to replace the Federal Aid Highway Bridge with a tunnel or new bridge. By the early ‘50s battle lines were drawn between advocates for a tunnel, headed by Miami News Broward edition editor Henry E. Kinney, and those for a bridge, led by Fort Lauderdale News owner R.H. Gore. Gore owned property near what would be affected by a right-of-way for the proposed tunnel. For years the debate raged unsettled.
In 1986 the New River Tunnel was re-named the Henry E. Kinney Tunnel, honoring the man who fought for its construction. Many claim it’s the only vehicular tunnel in Florida but two road tunnels operate at Walt Disney World in Kissimmee.
There had been a second tunnel proposed for Fort Lauderdale
(For more on Gore, see:
Gillis, Susan. Fort Lauderdale: The Venice of America. Charleston: Arcadia (2004).
Weidling, Philip J. , Burghard, August. Checkered Sunshine. Gainesville: University of Florida Press (1966).
Tags: Fort Lauderdale history, tunnels on U.S. 1, Florida tunnels, Florida history, Fort Lauderdale in the 1940s, Fort Lauderdale in the 1950s, Fort Lauderdale in 1960