Friday 20 September 2019

Musk unveils tunnel under LA he says can end traffic jams in congested cities

Elon Musk: Billionaire is behind the Boring Company and Tesla. Photo: Robyn Beck/Pool via REUTERS
Elon Musk: Billionaire is behind the Boring Company and Tesla. Photo: Robyn Beck/Pool via REUTERS

Olivia Feld

Elon Musk has unveiled a tunnel underneath Los Angeles which the billionaire says is a milestone towards eliminating traffic in congested cities.

At an event, Mr Musk's 'The Boring Company' unveiled a 12-foot-wide, 1.6km test tunnel in Hawthorne, California.

It will transport passengers travelling in Tesla cars, modified to fit onto a track, that can travel at up to 80kmh, although Mr Musk said future tunnels could transport people at 240kmh.

The Boring Company, which Mr Musk set up to bore holes underneath cities after becoming exasperated at traffic in Los Angeles, eventually plans to build loops of two-way tunnels underneath cities with entry and exit points for passengers.

As well as Tesla cars that will transport pedestrians, Mr Musk said motorists would be able to drive their own vehicles into future tunnels, as long as they are modified to fit on its track - an upgrade that would cost between $200 and $300 (€175-260).

Cars and passengers will also be able to board and exit the tunnels through ramps and lifts at thousands of locations around the cities, with rides costing around $1. The tunnels could also be used for utilities and water supplies, he said.

The Boring Company says its loops will transport around 4,000 cars an hour.

Mr Musk, also the chief executive of electric car maker Tesla and rocket company SpaceX, has dedicated time in the last two years to The Boring Company, despite multiple controversies at Tesla.

The company plans to build its first full loop in Chicago.

Creating a 30km two-way tunnel for passenger vehicles is likely to cost $1bn (€875m).

It is also working on further tunnels in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and is receiving inquiries from cities around the world.

The Boring Company, which is majority owned by Mr Musk, was given special permission by the City of Hawthorne to build its test site, although the development has been criticised by residents.

Irish Independent

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