HAWTHORNE  (CBSLA)  — Are Angelenos one step closer to a shorter commute? Is science-fiction closer to science fact?

On Twitter Sunday, Elon Musk, aka Mr. SpaceX, said the underground travel tunnel designed to ease LA traffic was close to fruition.

In referring to the look of the tunnel — someone compared it to an amusement ride — he said “pretty close actually.”

As KCAL9’s Greg Mills reports, that tweet set off a frenzy on the internet.

His 23 million followers were certainly excited.

“The first tunnel is almost done.” And he wasn’t just hyping. “Opens December 10th,” he wrote.

The public would be able to take free rides he said the next day.

A SpaceX employee told Mills that the tunnel starts at Crenshaw Boulevard south of 120th Street across from the SpaceX entrance in Hawthorne.

For more than a year, workers have been busy at the tunnel.

Mills reported this evening that a crane operator was working until it got dark. And he was there a year ago — while he was doing a story on Musk’s plans — when could tell work was starting.

The work has long been shrouded in secrecy.

It’s no secret that drivers are fed up with long commutes and traffic and they are literally looking for anyone to save the day.

“The traffic above ground is too much,” said Jerrell King.

“I think it’s gonna help congestion a little bit,” said Pedro Ochoa.

Musk has been touting the high-speed Hyperloop underground idea for a few years. Large pods speeding through tunnels from Long Beach to LAX, all the way to Sherman Oaks.

From Hawthorne to the Valley in 15 minutes?

“If it’s like here to Sherman Oaks in 15-20 minutes, yeah I’ll take it,” said Ochoa.

Beyond the debut date of the first tunnel, very little else is known. But that’s the way Musk likes it.

Not everybody is into the hyperloop and tunnel idea.

Licia Johnson would prefer the city keeps building on the rail system we have.

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