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Musk's Boring Company Begins Boring

Friday, July 7, 2017

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Ever the eccentric, Elon Musk—CEO of SpaceX and Tesla—is, in fact, boring.

The Boring Company—which was born out of Musk’s frustration with Los Angeles rush-hour traffic—has begun digging under the SpaceX parking lot to set the stage for the billionaire’s master plan.

The Boring Company

Individual cars would be lowered from regular roads to tunnels by parking on what Musk calls a “car skate,” which essentially functions like an elevator and lowers the car into the tunnel.

The end goal is to build up to 30 tunnels underneath Interstate 105 to help address Los Angeles' notorious traffic problems. Yet the public will truly be left waiting for Godot—that's the name of Musk’s tunnel-boring machine—because permits are proving difficult to acquire.

The Tunnels

According to Musk’s design, announced in May, tunnels would transport cars on an electric skate, and that there would even be room for a Hyperloop—a reduced pressure tube that could shoot pod-like vehicles faster than an airliner. Individual cars would be lowered from regular roads to tunnels by parking on what Musk calls a “car skate,” which essentially functions like an elevator and lowers the car into the tunnel. From there, the skate’s speed can exceed 130 miles per hour.

“There’s no real limit to how many levels of tunnels you can have,” Musk said in a statement. “The deepest mines are much deeper than the tallest buildings are tall.”

Tunnel Boring

Conventional tunnel-boring machines still run fairly slowly, with half their time spent on construction and half on reinforcing the tunnels, but Godot has the opportunity to do more. At this rate, it was humorously noted that first, Godot must beat Musk’s pet snail, Gary.

The Boring Company

At this rate, it was humorously noted that first, Godot must beat Musk’s pet snail, Gary.

 “Gary is capable of currently going 14 times faster than a tunnel-boring machine,” Musk said. “We want to beat Gary.” He noted that, “Victory will be beating the snail.”

To address the issue of speed, Musk wants to develop a machine that can both construct and reinforce tunnels at the same time.

Part-Time Investment

Unfortunately for those who still get stuck in L.A. congestion, Musk is currently only spending two to three percent of his time on The Boring Company.

“This is basically interns and people doing it part time,” Musk said. “We bought some secondhand machinery. It’s kind of puttering along but making good progress.”

While things are moving slowly, there are a few factors that provide an optimistic view—one where Godot may actually arrive.

The Boring Company

Conventional tunnel-boring machines still run fairly slowly, with half their time spent on construction and half on reinforcing the tunnels, but Godot has the opportunity to do more.

Musk noted that he had been having “promising conversations” with mayor Eric Garcetti. These conversations outlined the addition of an express train that would travel between L.A. International Airport and Union Station, which is a significant transit hub that connects L.A. and the suburbs. Garcetti did say that using Musk’s tunnel to support the rail connection was also under consideration.

Additionally, Musk announced on Twitter last week that the first tunnel segment had been drilled. There is also a skeleton of a car elevator pod that should be functional relatively soon. While all of these things have been pointing the project in the right direction, additional permits will be needed to push past the SpaceX property line.

   

Tagged categories: Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Tunnel

Comment from Peter Kenimer, (7/7/2017, 10:10 AM)

old news? looks like this is already under the road and to the other side... https://futurism.com/musk-says-the-boring-companys-first-car-elevator-will-be-operating-next-week/


Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (7/10/2017, 8:08 AM)

Something most media outlets seem to miss (not enough time with their kids?) - Gary the Snail is a character in Spongebob Squarepants, who lives in a pineapple under the sea (no, I'm not making this up. Go look at the tank photo again)


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