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Los Angeles Traffic | © Pixabay
Los Angeles Traffic | © Pixabay
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Are Tunnels the Answer to Los Angeles’ Traffic Problem?

Picture of Peter Ward
Tech Editor
Updated: 31 October 2017
On December 17 2016, Elon Musk complained about the traffic in Los Angeles. He certainly wasn’t the only person complaining that day, or any day, in a city notorious for its congestion. But when a billionaire with a tendency to pursue outlandish goals makes an issue of something, he actually has a chance of making a difference.

Musk’s solution was typically ambitious. In the tweet he wrote that he was going to “build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging.” Nobody really knew how serious he was, until he launched a new company—The Boring Company—less than a month later.

Musk then bought a used boring machine and began digging a test trench 16 feet deep in the SpaceX parking garage in Hawthorne in Los Angeles County. The city council of Hawthorne gave permission for the work, voting 4–1 in favor of Musk’s initial project.

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on

In April 2017, the entrepreneur released a video that explained the scope of his plans, and revealed just how difficult it would be to achieve them. In the video, a car pulls off the road and onto a platform, which takes it down a level into the tunnel.

Once inside, vehicles are moved on the same platform on what looks similar to a rail track. The cars travel at around 200km/h according to graphics in the video. Later on in the video, a bus-like vehicle is also seen descending into the tunnel, suggesting public transport will be able to use the futuristic roadway as well.

Musk has posted evidence of the progress he’s made on social media. In October he revealed an image of the L.A. tunnel, describing it as running parallel to Interstate 405, all the way to Interstate 101, with exit ramps every mile. “It will work like a fast freeway, where electric skates carrying vehicles and people pods on the main artery travel up to 150 mph, and the skates switch to side tunnels to exit and enter,” Musk wrote on Instagram.