Elon Musk’s ‘Vegas Loop’ called a ‘death trap’ as traffic piles up

‘It’s just a matter of time before a tunnel like this becomes the site of a horrible accident’

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Friday 07 January 2022 21:45
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The Las Vegas Loop managed by Elon Musk’s The Boring Company has been called a “death trap” after a video of congestion in the convention centre tunnel was shared on Reddit.

The clip, filmed in the backseat of a Tesla, was shared on the subreddit “f**kcars” and shows the vehicle stopping behind a line of other cars in the tunnel located 40 feet (12 metres) below the ground.

“It’s just a matter of time before a tunnel like this becomes the site of a horrible accident with a bunch people stuck in a narrow tube with no ventilation and a burning battery producing poisonous fumes,” Reddit user RimealotIV said.

Mr Musk has claimed that the tunnel is a solution to traffic jams but some fear it may be dangerous.

“That was mildly horrifying. Small tube with no emergency exits,” another Reddit user said.

“That tube is a death trap,” a third said.

“What happens if there’s a crash and a fire? How will people get out?” another user. “This is a death trap and a disaster waiting to happen.”

“Loop tunnels are outfitted with emergency exits, fire detection systems, fire suppression systems, and a fire-rated first responder emergency communication system,” The Boring Company’s website states. “The systems are tested frequently with local Police and Fire Departments.”

They add that the loop “has no internal touch hazards, enabling safe evacuation, minimizing potential fire sources, and eliminating any dangerous effects of (unlikely) water intrusion (Teslas can safely handle some rain). In the unlikely case that a fire does occur, the tunnel’s redundant, bidirectional ventilation system will remove the smoke to allow passengers to safely evacuate”.

The convention centre underground loop was opened in April last year after being constructed at a cost of $52.5m.

The Boring Company also plans to build a loop measuring 29 miles with 51 stops at the hotels and casinos on the street, the city’s football stadium, the Las Vegas Convention Center and McCarran International Airport.

The loop at the convention centre is 1.7 miles long with 29 parking spots at three stations.

In the video, which was shared by Benjamin Brochstein, the driver says that the likely reason behind the congestion is that one of the three stations is closed.

While drivers cannot drive faster than 40 miles an hour in the tunnel, the Tesla in the footage was driving around four miles an hour.

The Boring Company has 70 vehicles operating in the tunnel to handle the rise in attendees as the CES trade show is hosted at the convention centre by the Consumer Technology Association. It’s the first time the event is organized in person since 2020, and more than 50,000 people are reportedly in attendance.

“Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging,” Mr Musk said as he announced the project in 2016. “It shall be called The Boring Company.”

When the loop was opened, Jason Torchinsky of the motoring site Jalopnik wrote that it was “about as exciting as a sheet of unpainted drywall discarded in a closed office park. It’s just some Tesla Model 3s driving slowly in a tube, and if that gets you excited then I hope you enjoy the many orgasms you get while driving down a spiral ramp in a parking deck”.

The Independent has reached out to The Boring Company for comment.

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