LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Boring Company, Elon Musk's underground transit venture, planned a disclosure of its first tunnel Tuesday, two years after the billionaire entrepreneur complained about traffic in Los Angeles and promised to "just start digging" as a means.
PHOTO: Elon Musk will talk at the Boring Company community meeting in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, USA, May 1
Musk has announced its 2 kilometer km) tunnel as it the first step toward developing a high-speed underground network for whisking vehicles and pedestrians under the congested streets of the second largest city in the United States.
The tunnel, a first proof of the concept, has been excavated along a path that does not go through Los Angeles, but below the small adjacent municipality of Hawthorne, where Musk's Boring Company and its SpaceX rocket company both have headquarters.
Boring Company announced plans for a live webcast Tuesday at 8 local time (0400 GMT) of what it called a "product launch" for the tunnel, but provided modest details.
In a tweet earlier this month, Musk said that the great revelation would include "autonomous transport vehicles and the hill to tunnel elevator cars".
The Borings website describes a system of passenger and car carrier "ice skates" that can zip through the tunnels by electric power when lowered underground from the street level.
Musk, best known as the leader of the Tesla Inc electric car manufacturer and energy company, launched its priority to public transport after complaining in December 2016 that LA's traffic was "driving me nuts" and promised to "build a dull machine and just begin to dig. "
In May, the company gave the world a preview of the first tunnel and sent a video of the inner image of a camera that traveled the length of the cylindrical passage measuring about 12 feet (3.7m) in diameter.
Musk also created a stir by promising free tours through the tunnel when it opened – "like a strange little Disney trip in L.A." – to get public feedback before continuing with a larger system.
However, it became questionable whether Musk was allowed to dig what was then billed as an experimental tunnel would allow the public inside.
"There will be no cars or people in the survey tunnel," according to the protocol of a special Hawthorne city council meeting in August 2017 to undergo a relief for the project.
On its website, the Boring Company said that "due to incredibly high demand, tours through the Hawthorne test tunnel are only on invitation."
If successful, the Hawthorne tunnel is thought to eventually connect to a network of other tunnels, but to be approved or built.
Boring Company last month deleted plans for a slightly longer 2.7-mile segment under a West Los Angeles neighborhood, and settle litigation brought by community groups opposed to the project.
But Musks company announced that it was on its way to a proposed tunnel across the city to connect Dodger Stadium, the home of the city's Major League Baseball team, to the existing subway.
In June, Boring was chosen by the city of Chicago to build a 17-miles subway system connecting the city center with the O & Hare International Airport. The company has also proposed an East Coast Loop that would run from Washington, D.C., to Maryland suburbs.
Reporting by Steve Gorman, Bill Tarrant Editing and Rosalba Brien