Elon Musk’s first tunnel under L.A. nears completion
On Friday billionaire Elon Musk, founder and owner of Tesla, but also of The Boring Company, posted a rough video on Instagram showing that the first tunnel the company is boring under Los Angeles nears completion.
“First Boring Company tunnel under L.A. almost done! Pending final regulatory approvals, we will be offering free rides to the public in a few months”, Musk added on Instagram.” As mentioned in prior posts, once fully operational (demo system rides will be free), the system will always give priority to pods for pedestrians & cyclists for less than the cost of a bus ticket.
First of a vast underground network
The 3,2 km test tunnel under Hawthorn, one of L.A.’s suburbs where Musk’s other company SpaceX is situated, is only the first one of a vast network of a new underground transport system Musk envisions for Los Angeles. But Musk wants to use tunnels to connect cities on a longer distance too, like Washington D.C and New York, for which he says he also got approval.
Being fed up with daily traffic jams, Musk already announced in 2016 he would build a tunneling machine to dig out a network up to 10 levels deep, where electric car-sized ‘pods’ could move at speeds of 210 kph transporting a regular car or a passenger shuttle.
At several locations in the city you will have elevator platforms to bring the car on the pod underground and let it surface at street level at the destination to continue its way. It still would bring cars into the city centre, critics say, where European cities, for instance, try to discourage car drivers to enter the city.
Approval of Hawthorn
For this first tunnel Musk got the approval of the Hawthorn city authorities, but having green light for the second tunnel planned, a 4,5 km connection parallel along the Sepulveda Boulevard to Culver City, one of L.A.’s most important traffic axes in the west, might be more difficult.
The city council of L.A. would grant Musk an exemption on the obligatory environmental review to speed up operations, but two neighbourhood groups have filed a lawsuit against the city’s proposal saying it would violate state law by this.
No ‘piecemeal’ approval
They say the state law on the environmental review is meant to prevent that by cutting such a project into ‘little pieces’, it would get ‘piecemeal’ approval for one piece of a bigger project that might have a huge impact.
According to the Los Angeles Times, The Boring Company didn’t comment on this on Friday, but said last month it would conduct an environmental review the moment it would go ahead with its plans for a real passenger service.