Tuesday’s reveal comes almost two years to the day since Musk announced on Twitter that “traffic is driving me nuts” and he was “going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging.”
“I am actually going to do this,” he added in response to initial skepticism. Soon after, he began The Boring Company, tongue in cheek intentional.
For the privately funded test tunnel, Musk acquired a tunnel-boring machine that had been used in a San Francisco Bay Area project and put it down a shaft in a parking lot at the SpaceX headquarters.
Musk dismissed concerns such as the noise and disruption of building the tunnels, saying that when workers bored through the end of the test tunnel the people in the home 20 feet (6 meters) away “didn’t even stop watching TV.”
“The footsteps of someone walking past your house will be more noticeable than a tunnel being dug under your house,” he said,
The Boring Company canceled its plans for another test tunnel on Los Angeles’ west side last month after a neighborhood coalition filed a lawsuit expressing concerns about traffic and disruptions from trucks hauling out dirt during the boring process.
However, Steve Davis, head of The Boring Company, said the interest in the tunnel systems has been significant — anywhere from five to 20 calls a week from various municipalities and stakeholders.
One project Musk is planning on, known as the Dugout Loop, would take Los Angeles baseball fans to Dodger Stadium from one of three subway stations. Another would take travelers from downtown Chicago to O’Hare International Airport. Both projects are in the environmental review phase.
Musk said he thinks the Chicago project has the most potential to open soonest and that he’s hoping an extensive network opens in Los Angeles before the city hosts the 2028 Olympics.
“Wouldn’t it be incredible if you could travel around LA, New York, D.C., Chicago, Paris, London — anywhere — at 150 mph?” Musk said. “That’d be phenomenal.”
Musk’s representatives also unveiled on Tuesday a new tunnel-boring machine they say they hope to have online soon, one that can bore four times faster than the one they’ve been using.
Musk said it took about $10 million to build the test tunnel, a far cry from the $1 billion per mile his company says most tunnels take to build.
Cost-cutting measures included improving the speed of construction with smarter tools, eliminating middlemen, building more powerful boring machines, and turning the dirt being excavated into bricks and selling them, Musk said.
The tunnel will not be open to the public for the foreseeable future, Musk said, adding that regulations wouldn’t allow for it to open widely for demo rides just yet.
Musk’s vision for the underground tunnels is not the same as another of his transportation concepts known as hyperloop. That would involve a network of nearly airless tubes that would speed special capsules over long distances at up to 750 mph (1,200 kph), using a thin cushion of air, magnetism and solar power.
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Source: “Los Angeles” – Google News