Elon Musk's "Boring Company" Starts Work on Its First Commercial Tunneling Project in Las Vegas
Billionaire Elon Musk founded The Boring Company (TBC) in December of 2016 with the goal of greatly reducing the cost of building tunnels and tunnel-based transportation systems. Part of his inspiration for entering into the business was his frustration with gridlock traffic in Los Angeles and the general limitations of the world's current "2-dimensional, road-based" transportation networks. The company's focus has been on developing tunneling methods and designs with which will speed up the tunnel construction process while greatly reducing costs.
On November 15, 2019, the company started a tunneling project 40 feet below the Las Vegas Visitor's Convention Center (LVCC). The project consists of a building two tunnels which will each be approximately 1 mile long. The tunnels will be used for an electric-vehicle-based "people-mover" system to transport visitors beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center's sprawling 200-acre campus. TBC's innovative "loop system" will allow convention attendees to be whisked across LVCC's campus (for free) in just over one minute using all-electric Tesla vehicles capable of holding between 3 and 10 people. The system will be designed for ridership of at least 4,400 passengers per hour and is scalable depending on convention attendance. There will be three stations on the loop for passengers to enter and disembark the people mover vehicles.
The $52.5-million underground people mover will connect the existing 3.2-million square feet of convention space with the LVCC's new 1.4-million-sf West Hall currently under construction, part of a $1.52 billion expansion and renovation. Following its completion in January 2021, the system will have the potential for future expansion, with the possibility of connecting key visitor attractions throughout Las Vegas, such as Downtown Las Vegas, Las Vegas Strip, McCarran International Airport and beyond.
TBC's boring machine is currently 40 feet below ground and the engines were turned on for the first time on the afternoon of November 15th. The machine can reportedly carve out 100 feet of tunnel per day. With planned upgrades, TBC hopes to increase that pace during the LVCC underground people mover's development. The LVCVA Board of Directors approved the contract on May 22, 2019. Speaking at the press event to celebrate the start of tunneling on the project, TBC's President Steve Davis said "Less than one year ago, this project was just an idea on paper; today, were ready to begin tunneling....Thanks to our partners at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for the opportunity to build our first commercial project here. We are excited about the future of Loop transportation in Las Vegas."