Elon Musk says Boring Company's first commercial tunnel will open in Las Vegas in 2020

'If we don’t try something new, we will be in traffic hell forever'

Anthony Cuthbertson
Monday 30 December 2019 14:38
Elon Musk unveils LA underground tunnel plan

Elon Musk has revealed the first ever commercial tunnel dug by The Boring Company will open in Las Vegas next year.

The tunnel-digging startup aims to alleviate traffic in the city by constructing an underground route connecting the Las Vegas Convention Center with the Strip. Mr Musk said the tunnel will “hopefully be fully operational in 2020”, and would be the first of many tunnel networks beneath cities in the future.

“The objective reality for large cities worldwide is that efforts to solve traffic have not worked well,” he tweeted on Sunday. “If we don’t try *something* new, we will be in traffic hell forever.”

By drastically reducing the cost and time it takes to bore tunnels, the firm claims to offer a radical new option that does not interfere with existing transport infrastructure. Cars and passenger pods would be pinged along electric skates through tunnels at speeds of up to 155mph, before lifts return them to the surface.

“The key to making this work is increasing tunnelling speed and dropping costs by a factor of 10 or more – this is the goal of The Boring Company,” the company’s website states.

The serial entrepreneur founded The Boring Company in 2016 after becoming frustrated with “soul-destroying traffic” in his home city of Los Angeles.

“Traffic is driving me nuts,” he tweeted in December 2017. “Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging.”

One year later the company unveiled a one-mile test tunnel under LA, which transported passengers in a car placed on electric skates at 35mph.

The Boring Company said the tunnel segment cost just $10 million to dig – a significant improvement on current projects by other companies that cost as much as $1bn per mile.

A map displaying proposed routes for the first tunnel network under Los Angeles built by The Boring Company.

Mr Musk, who is also the CEO of electric car maker Tesla, said only electric vehicles will have access to the tunnels in order to prevent them from becoming choked with toxic fumes.

“These would be road tunnels for zero emissions vehicles only – no toxic fumes is the key,” he tweeted. “Really, just an underground road, but limited to EVs (from all auto companies). This is not in place of other solutions, eg light rail, but supplemental to them.”

A tunnel digger in Los Angeles built by The Boring Company.

A spokesperson for The Boring Company was not immediately available for comment but the Las Vegas and Visitors Authority told CNN that the tunnel would be ready in time for the 2021 Consumer Electronics Show, which takes place in January.

“We just broke ground mid-November and have its anticipated completion for the CES 2021 show,” a spokesperson said.

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