Musk has begun his proposed project of digging a tunnel under the city of Los Angeles to help reduce the city’s traffic problems. After experiencing LA traffic at its worst, Musk decided the only option was to dig a tunnel so he didn’t have to put up with all of these pesky drivers.
I guess when you have SpaceX money, you can do whatever you want?
Musk toyed with the idea back in December via social media with posts saying “Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging.”
Obviously being on social media, no one really took him seriously – especially after dubbing the company “The Boring Company.” The idea, though, is to eliminate traffic jams within the city of Los Angeles by burrowing a tunnel underground in which cars can easily pass through.
“We’re just going to figure out what it takes to improve tunneling speed by, I think, somewhere between 500 and 1,000 percent,” Musk said during a hyperloop design competition at SpaceX. So he’s serious, but how serious is he? Turns out, very.
The first test trench has already been excavated, it’s 30 feet wide, 50 feet long and 15 feet deep. Musk claims that by going underground, any city would be able to increase the size of its infrastructure because you are building down instead of up or out.
As far as expansion goes, Musk doesn’t need any special permits to use ground already bought by SpaceX, but he will need to work with city officials if he wants to expand across Los Angeles – and something tells me he might want to do that.
What are the logistics of building such a tunnel?
The project also allows Musk and his team to work out boring techniques for digging the tunnels in the most efficient way. So far, they have one digging machine in the field, and a few more ideas in the works.
The machine is really the least of his worries, though. Musk will have to come up with a plan to move any gas, power, telecommunication or water lines beneath the surface (turns out you can’t just plow through them). Environmental laws also play a role in underground digging and excavating.
Working out the costs
The cost for this project is probably astronomical, although there isn’t an official price tag just yet. When you consider all of the work being put into something so grandiose, though, it’s hard to imagine Musk can get it done for super cheap, even if he’s using his own company to do it.
When the LA Metro expanded, $45 million went to relocating utility lines alone. That’s not factoring in any other part of the expansion.
So Elon Musk is determined to turn his, and every other Los Angeles resident, nightmare into the tunnel dream of the future. As scary as it sounds, and as long as it may take, it will be interesting to see how his idea pans out.