Nashville city leaders hear more on proposed underground tunnel

(Courtesy: Metro Government)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Transportation has been a big topic of conversation around Nashville. As the city booms, the need for new transportation options grows.

On Thursday, city leaders learned more about how a proposed underground tunnel would work. The tunnel would be built underneath downtown Nashville and would be part of Mayor Barry’s Lets Move Transit plan.

The tunnel would be 1.8 miles long and it would run under Fifth Avenue and the five light rail lines that are part of the Let’s Move Nashville plan.

(Photo: WKRN)

“Downtown Nashville has some of the narrowest streets in the whole city and so we really felt with the amount of growth that is happening, that exploring an underground solution was critical to be able to keep downtown moving,” said Erin Hafkenschiel, director of the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Sustainability.

Hafkenschiel told News 2 there would likely be three stops. One Underneath the existing Music City Central at Fifth and Charlotte, one around the Fifth and Broadway area, and one likely in the area of Lafayette and Fourth or Fifth avenues.

“I think by the time we get done with all of this analysis we will know one, is this possible, if yes what are those greatest challenges and what can we do to mitigate them,” said councilmen Freddie O’Connell, with District 19.

If plans for the tunnel move forward, it would still be several years before the tunnel is complete.

“Most transit projects take about 10 to 12 years, and so the tunnel would be under a similar time frame. The timeline that we put together says that the first light rail line would open in 2026 and the tunnel would open a year later in 2027,” said Hafkenschiel.

The tunnel would cost $936 million to build. Metro Council will determine whether it should make it to the ballot during the months of January and February.