HAWTHORNE (CBSLA) – Tesla founder Elon Musk gave a sneak peek Thursday night of his new underground demo tunnel, part of his plan to alleviate Los Angeles traffic, announcing that it could be available for use within a few months.
Musk posted a time-lapse video on Instagram of the tunnel, located in Hawthorne, and wrote that it is “almost done” and is “pending final regulatory approvals.”
“Once fully operational (demo system rides will be free), the system will always give priority to pods for pedestrians & cyclists for less than the cost of a bus ticket,” Musk wrote.
Under Musk’s plan, platforms would carry pods or cars down to an underground series of passages. The platforms would act as electric sleds, transporting cars or pods across the city at speeds of more than 120 miles an hour.
Last August, the Hawthorne City Council gave The Boring Company approval to construct a test tunnel for electric cars underneath the city, extending from the headquarters of Musk’s SpaceX company.
If the Hawthorne tunnel is successful, Musk is hoping to follow it up with “Phase 1″ of his plan, a 2.7-mile tunnel that will run parallel to Sepulveda Boulevard, from Pico Boulevard in West Los Angeles south to Washington Boulevard in Culver City.
Back in January, Boring Company officials presented their plans for the tunnel to the Culver City Council, saying it will not cost any taxpayer money.
“Phase 1 would not be utilized for public transportation until the proof-of-process tunnel is deemed successful by County government, City government, and TBC,” the Boring Company wrote on its website.
Phase 2 of the project includes expanding the tunnel system as far south as Long Beach, as far north as Sherman Oaks, east to Dodger Stadium and west to Santa Monica.
Two groups have filed a lawsuit opposing the company’s proposal to exempt the project from environmental review.
Even if he gets past that hurdle, some experts doubt Musk will be able to get permission from all the public and private landowners whose permission he would need to dig under their properties.
Musk launched The Boring Company in December 2016 to focus on the tunnel project. The company built a shaft and a 160-foot-long tunnel entrance in the former parking lot Spacex, across the street from its 1 Rocket Road headquarters.
In January of 2017, SpaceX held a Hyperloop Pod competition in which university teams from across the world tested out pods on a track that simulated how pods would possibly shoot through a vacuum-like underground tunnel, known as a Hyperloop, at about 70 miles per hour.
In July 2017, Musk received permission from officials to begin to work on a Hyperloop that would transport people from New York City to Washington, D.C., in about 30 minutes.
Musk’s ultimate goal in L.A. is a 60-mile tunnel network throughout the city.
First Boring Company tunnel under LA almost done! Pending final regulatory approvals, we will be offering free rides to the public in a few months. Super huge thanks to everyone that helped with this project. Strong support from public, elected officials & regulators is critical to success. As mentioned in prior posts, once fully operational (demo system rides will be free), the system will always give priority to pods for pedestrians & cyclists for less than the cost of a bus ticket.