Elon Musk Tweets Out First Glimpse of LA Underground Tunnel System
Musk tweeted an image showing a prototype of a proposed hyperloop for ferrying vehicles underground the city at 125 mph.
When Elon Musk tweets, people listen. Or read, or retweet, or flip out, depending.
The tech mogul's latest Twitter dispatch shows a section of Musk's proposed underground tunnel network beneath Los Angeles. The photo provides the first glimpse of Musk's pipe dream for busting traffic problems in California.
Musk and his ambitious startup company — the Boring Company — intend to connect destinations in and around Los Angeles with a network of tunnels. Vehicles traversing LA's famously gridlocked roads and freeways will be able to drop down by elevator into the tunnel system, which will shuttle them across town in rail pods traveling at up to 125 mph.
Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has been publicly sharing developments on the Boring Co. project for several months. The company has been digging out an underground test tunnel near SpaceX headquarters in the Southern California city of Hawthorne, a suburb of the Los Angeles-area megalopolis.
The Twitter image is the first glimpse of what's actually going on down there. Musk has also posted a short video on Instagram of the elevator system. The tunnel section features rail tracks, paneled walls, cables, lighting, and what appears to be a large ventilation conduit.
In a followup tweet, Musk said the test tunnel is 500 feet in length so far, and will stretch to two miles within three to four months. He also said the tunnel will “stretch the whole 405 N-S corridor from LAX to the 101 in a year or so.”
The 405 and the 101 are two of LA's most notoriously crowded freeways.
500 ft so far. Should be 2 miles long in three or four months and hopefully stretch the whole 405 N-S corridor from LAX to the 101 in a year or so.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 28, 2017
In a statement introducing the underground project, the company proposed a vast vertical network of what are essentially subway tunnels for vehicles.
By digging down and adding new levels sequentially, the system could gradually expand over time, linking multiple destinations under Los Angeles or any given city with gridlock problems. The system could also be tweaked to move around dedicated passenger pods or freight containers.
Tunneling is a notoriously expensive undertaking, so Musk is proposing alternative digging technologies with the goal of reducing digging and construction costs by a factor of ten.
The operation appears to be moving quickly. In August, the Boring Company received approval from the Hawthorne City Council to expand its initial test tunnel, which was initially located beneath an old parking lot at SpaceX headquarters.
Ultimately, Musk and his team hope to connect these metropolitan traffic tunnels with larger hyperloop that would connect major cities with high-speed underground tunnels. Just last week, the Boring Company received provisional approval to start digging at a new test site near Washington, DC.