Boring Company, founded by Elon Musk in 2016, has announced it has completed construction of its tunnel running between downtown Los Angeles and Torrance, with the aim being to demonstrate how by using a system of underground tunnels, the company can transport passengers at up to 150 mph.
Starting construction in 2017, Elon announced in the middle of October that “the first tunnel is almost done” and that it would open to the public on 10 December. He has made proposals for other routes, including one to the Dodger Stadium and an express service between the Loop in downtown Chicago and O’Hare International Airport — the latter of which has been approved by the city.
The goal of the tunnels are to avoid congestion by transporting people on skates, which is a different stance from earlier proposals in which cars were prioritized. There are still hurdles before Musk’s plans can come to friction but the LA MTA has at least said it will coordinate with the Boring Company on a proof-of-concept.
Proposed plans have been getting lots of media attention but because of the process that they need to go through before being built — legal and regulatory reviews, safety evaluations, environmental impact studies and proof of sound construction techniques — it could be long before anybody is zipping around LA in the way that Musk is imaging they will.
The Boring Company has imagined a complete network of tunnels running under LA, utilizing autonomous electric skates to transport between 8-16 people at a time at ultra-high speeds around the downtown core.
Previously the company purchased a house in Hawthorne to construct an elevator shaft, transporting cars down 140 feet into the tunnel. The elevator is located at O’Leary Station, which is roughly half way between both ends of the current tunnel and is part of a proof-of-concept model that links to a residential garage. Due to the size of the elevator, it could serve as a maintenance point and as a place to remove the tunnel boring machine components, allowing it to be reused — defying the traditional practices of leaving much of it in the ground due to ease and cost of removal.
Though only two miles long the tunnel is impressive nonetheless and could be a much needed improvement to the current congestion and public transit issues plaguing the country — but it’ll be a while before the public is riding around the LA in these underground tunnels.