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Elon Musk’s Boring Company to Fight Los Angeles Traffic

Elon Musk's proposed underground tunnel map

Elon Musk, CEO and founder of Tesla and SpaceX, shared a sneak peek of his underground tunnel in Los Angeles in a recent Instagram post. The short video provided a glimpse of what commuters can expect from his solution to the city’s worsening traffic problems. The CEO is building a 2-mile-long tunnel. Notably, the platform that would carry passengers underground in their cars instead of subway trains is an innovative transportation concept. The platform would serve as electric sleds. It can transport bikes, cars, pedestrians, or pods at speeds up to 124 miles per hour. The tunnel is almost 500 ft. so far. Meanwhile, the expected completion date is in the next three to four months. The exact location of the tunnel in Musk’s video is not yet clear. However, there are reports that the excavation has already started and within his property located in the Hawthorne area.

LA Tunnel’s Latest Improvements

Musk’s plan is starting to make progress after he tweeted in December 2016 that the Los Angeles traffic is “soul-destroying.” Additionally, he declared that he’s going to build a tunnel-boring machine and just start digging. Adding The Boring Co. to his projects, he acquired a tunnel-boring machine previously used in a San Francisco Bay Area venture.

Last month, the City Council’s public works committee had unanimously agreed to waive an environmental review of the tunnel, allowing a space for engineers at the Boring Co. to test and build the planned transportation system. It starts from Pico Boulevard all the way to Washington Boulevard in Culver City. The proposed tunnel stretches parallel to Sepulveda Boulevard. The entrance of the tunnel will be in a welding area and a lumber yard. According to The Boring Co., the tunnel would be 30 to 70 ft. below ground level. The tunnel will not hit any station along its direction. It will particularly avoid major utility cables and underground dangers that can complicate or slow down the construction.

Facing Legal Cases

The billionare wrote in his recent Instagram post:

First Boring Company tunnel under LA almost done! Pending final regulatory approvals, we will be offering free rides to the public in a few months.

This should be achievable in just a few months. The project is however delayed after two neighborhood organizations, the Sunset Coalition and the Brentwood Residents Coalition, filed a lawsuit against the city’s agreement to exempt the project from environmental analysis. Apparently, The Boring Co. just released images online showing a proposed tunnel system with routes across the city of Los Angeles, with stations at the Dodger Stadium, Getty Center, LA International Airport, and Union Station. The lawsuit then contends that state law should prevent permitting “piecemeal” approval to huge projects. It claimed that the proposed Westside tunnel is part of a much bigger intentional underground tunnel system.

The lawsuit cited:

  “The state’s environmental law cannot be evaded by chopping large projects into smaller pieces that taken individually appear to have no significant environmental impacts.”  

Moving Forward With the Flow

An official from The Boring Co. claimed they would conduct an environmental evaluation if the proposed plans for passenger transport service in LA moves forward.

Presented with the billionaire’s bold dream and aggressive timelines, the cities in LA have ultimately nothing left to do but to balance the meticulous process of public transport planning accompanied with innovation and embracing latest technology.

Jim Moore, a USC professor and longtime analyst of Metro’s subway projects, likewise said:

An environmental review could help address residents’ fears that tunneling in an earthquake-prone area could damage their homes or pose a threat to public safety. Approving a project without that information also could expose the city to lawsuits.

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