News about the Boring Company has been relatively slim in the past few weeks, but that all changed on Thursday night when Elon Musk shared a truly fantastic video of a portion of the two-mile-long underground test tunnel beneath suburban Los Angeles that he says will be open for free rides to the public in a few months.
“First Boring Company tunnel under LA almost done! Pending final regulatory approvals, we will be offering free rides to the public in a few months,” Musk writes in a caption that went with the video he posted on Instagram. “Super huge thanks to everyone that helped with this project. Strong support from public, elected officials & regulators is critical to success.” Musk also said via Twitter that the Boring Company has already started on its DC to NYC route, with plans for an LA to SF route to start in 2019. That LA-SF route will be a “true hyperloop with pressurized pods in near-vacuum tunnels, and faster than a jetliner,” Musk tweeted.
Musk first began seriously talking about an underground network of tunnels back in January 2016. Then, he told students at a hyperloop passenger pod competition: “It’s not that hard, but if you have tunnels in cities, it would massively alleviate congestion. You could have tunnels at all different levels, you could have 30 layers of tunnels and completely relieve the congestion problem in high-density cities. So, I highly suggest tunnels.”
A little less than a year later, in December 2016, Musk brought up the idea again: “Traffic is driving me nuts,” he complained on Twitter. “Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging.” Later, he gave his company its name: “It shall be called ‘The Boring Company.’ Boring, it’s what we do.” In April 2017, Musk revealed this stunning concept video that shows the vision he plans to execute.
Progress on test tunnel continued through 2017, raising money with Boring Company hats and Boring Company-branded flamethrowers. Musk has branded the shorter tunnel a “loop” and said on Thursday in another tweet that “loop” tunnels — where a vacuum tube isn’t required — can be connected like a subway system between cities: “A cool thing about the design is that’s easy to incorporate branch loops to serve small to mid-size cities without slowing down the main loop at all.”
The test tunnel will be a proof of concept for Musk’s company, and the underground tube — some 44 feet beneath the surface — may be back-filled once testing is complete, according to an agreement with the City Council of Hawthorne, California, just outside Los Angeles. Once it gets going, public transport like the buses below, will be given preference, Musk has said.