Construction

Elon Musk’s Underground LA Passage Gets Public Works Committee Approval

Elon Musk, the man who brought you Tesla, SpaceX and the high-speed Hyperloop mass transit system has another idea. He wants to send a major part of Los Angeles’ traffic problem underground.

Boring Company underground transit tunnel route in Los Angeles. Photo: The Boring Company

Musk’s plan is to build an underground network of tunnels to connect downtown Los Angeles to major metropolitan locations throughout the area. The tunnels would be for cars and pedestrians alike and would be built as a safe and efficient alternative to navigating the already-choked surface streets and freeways in the city. He plans do this via his Boring Company.

Before building the actual commuter tunnel, Musk’s team wants to build a test tunnel first. They have designed a proof-of-concept 2.7-mile tunnel pilot test. In mid-April 2018, the Los Angeles City Council Public Works committee gave them their first approval to go ahead. They were granted an exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act standards. City officials also told the Bureau of Engineering to create permits for the excavation phase for the project.

That test tunnel is the red section on the map shown above. It will have only one entry point and the public will not be allowed to enter it.

If the test works out well, the Boring Company hopes to build out of the rest of its blue-routed network, as shown above.

One other step for the test phase remains:  final approval from the City Council as a whole.

If the test tunnel does proceed, the first step is digging out 80,000 cubic yards of soil from a site located at the intersection of Sepulveda and Washington Boulevards in Culver City, located about 10 miles from Los Angeles’ downtown district. This phase of the project alone will take about nine months.

The project has some similarities to another test tunnel already built in Hawthorne, not far from the Los Angeles International Airport.

The Boring Company also has its eyes on other mass transit projects elsewhere in the United States. One that will likely draw a lot of attention is a planned bid for a private express train connecting O’Hare International Airport to downtown Chicago.