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Maryland Issues Conditional Approval for Hyperloop

Thursday, October 26, 2017

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Maryland’s Department of Transportation has given conditional approval for the construction of a Hyperloop tunnel, which is slated to stretch from Baltimore to Washington D.C.

According to The Washington Post, the project will begin near Fort Meade, in Ann Arundel County, and stretch over 10 miles underneath MD 295.

"The idea is eventually for the first leg to go from Washington to Baltimore or Baltimore to Washington—they are actually starting in the middle and going in both directions,” said Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. “The eventual plan is to go from Washington to New York in 24 minutes. Sounds like a pretty exciting proposition."

All that's needed to do the digging is a utility permit, according to Maryland governor spokesperson Doug Mayer.

“It’s a private company, privately financed," he added. "The costs to the state will be extremely limited, if anything at all. The state has been working with them for multiple months on the permit process.”

Project Pros, Cons and Student Involvement

According to transportation and tunneling researchers, Musk’s plan has promise, but the execution needs to be grounded in reality.

“Is it a big project? Sure,” said Mike Mooney, professor of tunneling at the Colorado School of Mines. “It’s not a big project globally.” Mooney added that, in Qatar’s capital and a number of larger Chinese cities, tunneling projects might hit 50 or 100 of digging mile markers within five years.

On the other hand, the question of cost remains a heavy one.

Jose Gomez-Ibanez, a professor of urban planning at the Harvard Kennedy School, told The Washington Post that he was skeptical but hopeful about the Hyperloop. What remains, however, is that the “reality of so much infrastructure” and the associated cost could prove to be prohibitive to the general public.

Over 70 students from the University of Maryland are currently competing to design and build the Hyperloop, and have already built scaled-down pods that people could travel in.


Tagged categories: Construction; Developers; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Roads/Highways; Traffic control; Tunnel

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