On Sunday night, Tesla, SpaceX, and Boring Company CEO Elon Musk tweeted “The first tunnel is almost done,” adding that the tunnel will open December 10. “The first tunnel” refers to the initial tunnel that The Boring Company has been digging under the streets of Hawthorne.
Work began on that project around the start of 2017, when Musk moved excavation equipment into what was then SpaceX’s tiny employee parking lot and began digging. Since then, Musk has purchased a boring machine to tunnel under the Los Angeles neighborhood, with the hope of making modifications to the machinery that will allow tunnels to be dug more quickly.
According to The Boring Company website, the Hawthorne tunnel “leaves SpaceX property (parking lot east of Crenshaw Boulevard and south of 120th Street), turns west under 120th Street, and remains under 120th Street for up to 2-miles.” Musk tweeted last night that pods in the tunnel will achieve a top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h). The CEO added that there will be an opening event on the evening of December 10, and free rides for the public on the following day.
Just last month, The Boring Company received approval from the Hawthorne City Council to build an entrance to the Hawthorne tunnel from the garage of a residential building nearby. At the same time the company also received approval to dig a short addition to the existing tunnel onto another piece of property that it had purchased nearby, where The Boring Company could extract its boring machine. Traditional boring operations have been known to just bury their machines in the ground once a tunnel is done because it’s more expensive to find a way to get the massive piece of equipment out. This, naturally, adds significant cost to tunnel boring operations.
The Hawthorne test tunnel is a precursor to several tunnels that The Boring Company may build in Los Angeles and beyond. The Boring Company recently announced its intention to build a 3.6-mile, one-way tunnel from a to-be-determined location at a Los Angeles Metro station to Dodger Stadium (this would replace the proof-of-concept tunnel project that Musk had proposed to run parallel to the 405 freeway). The City of Chicago has also selected The Boring Company to build an express line from O’Hare International Airport to the downtown area.
The Boring Company has previously stated that the vehicles in its tunnels will be electric pods, capable of either transporting a single car or a group of people.