Elon Musk Drops Los Angeles Tunnel Plan For Dodger Stadium Project

  • Mr Musk’s aptly named underground transit venture the Boring Company gave up on its development of a tunnel in West L.A. to settle litigation brought by community groups opposed to the project

  • Elon Musk boasted his intention to offer free rides through tunnel under Sepulveda Boulevard


Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has scrapped plans for a high-speed passenger tunnel under the West side of Los Angeles but is moving ahead with a similar proposal across town designed to whisk baseball fans to and from Dodger Stadium.

Mr Musk’s aptly named underground transit venture the Boring Company gave up on its development of a 4.4-km tunnel in West L.A. to settle litigation brought by community groups opposed to the project, the two sides said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

The move came six months after Mr Musk, the high-tech baron better known as founder of electric car company Tesla Inc and CEO of rocket maker SpaceX, made a rare personal appearance at a Los Angeles public event to promote his controversial tunnel project.

At the time, Mr Musk boasted of his intention to offer free rides through the tunnel under Sepulveda Boulevard to elicit public feedback before proceeding with a much larger network he has envisioned for the L.A. metropolitan area.

But opponents accused Mr Musk of trying to evade a lengthy environmental review required for such projects by seeking an exemption based on what his company insisted was a small-scale demonstration of a wider concept.

Precise terms of the court settlement were confidential, according to company spokeswoman Jehn Balajadia and a lawyer for plaintiffs of the lawsuit, John Given.

“The parties … have amicably settled the matter,” the statement said. “The Boring Company is no longer seeking the development of the Sepulveda test tunnel and instead seeks to construct an operational tunnel at Dodger Stadium.”

Plans for Boring’s so-called “Dugout Loop,” an underground high-speed transit corridor between Dodger Stadium and one of three existing subway stations along the city’s Metro Red Line, were first unveiled months ago on the company’s website.

An initial public scoping hearing for the project, the first major step in a full-scale regulatory review of the Dugout Loop, was held by the city’s Public Works Department in late August.

The company, on the other hand has said a separate, shorter tunnel it has dug beneath the tiny neighboring municipality of Hawthorne, where Boring and SpaceX are both headquartered, would be completed by Dec. 10.

“Based on what we’ve learned from the Hawthorne test tunnel, we’re moving forward with a much larger tunnel network under LA,” Mr Musk tweeted on Wednesday, adding, “Won’t need a second test tunnel under Sepulveda.”

Boring said the Hawthorne tunnel and its Dugout Loop would serve as proof-of-concept sites for a traffic-easing system of subterranean tubes that will move pedestrian vehicles called “skates” from place to place at up to 240 km per hour.

The Dodger Stadium tunnel will initially be limited to some 1,400 passengers per event, about 2.5 percent of the ballpark’s capacity, but ridership could eventually be doubled, Boring’s website said. It said fares would run just $1 a ride.

In June, Boring was selected by the city of Chicago to build a 17-mile underground transit system connecting that city’s downtown to O’Hare International Airport. The company also has proposed an East Coast Loop that would run from downtown Washington, D.C., out to the Maryland suburbs.

Musk, known for aggressively taking on large-scale technical challenges with which he has had little previous experience, launched his foray into public transit after complaining about L.A. traffic on Twitter in late 2016, vowing then to “build a boring machine and just start digging.

Lawsuits, man. Elon Musk’s Boring Company has abandoned its plan to dig a tunnel under the west side of Los Angeles after it and the city settled a lawsuit brought by two area neighborhood groups who opposed the scheme.

The project, announced last spring, had entailed building a 2.7-mile test tunnel under Sepulveda Boulevard, adjacent to the crowded 405 freeway, under public property. The Boring Company had hoped to use the tunnel’s construction process to understand the specific challenges of tunneling in this part of LA’s soil and bedrock, and to refine its proposed mass transit system.

What the Boring Company calls “the Loop” would shoot passenger-packed pods on electric-powered platformsthrough a network of underground tunnels at 150 miles an hour and, thus, strike a death blow to LA’s traffic and pollution problem. Musk says the Boring Company’s tech should make tunnel boring as much as 15 times faster than today’s processes, and reduce its cost by a factor of 10. Professional tunnel engineers have thrown doubt on these claims, but if Musk deserves credit for anything in his car-building, rocket-shooting career, it’s feats of engineering mastery

Netaji Gangula
netaji is a well known tech writer in the field of artificial intelligence, he wrote several articles on the advanced AI methods on international news magazines

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