Elon Musk wants to solve city traffic woes one tunnel at a time. The Boring Company founder, responding to an Australian state lawmaker via Twitter on Wednesday, stated the firm could build a two-way high-speed transit route through the Blue Mountains to connect Sydney and the west for a surprisingly low price.
Musk has been gradually providing more details about his tunnel-digging venture, founded two years ago with the aim of resolving Los Angeles traffic, which hosted a press event in December 2018 to unveil its 1.14-mile initial test tunnel in Hawthorne, California. Jeremy Buckingham, a member of the New South Wales parliament’s upper house, asked Musk how much it would cost to build a 31-mile tunnel through the mountains to stop Sydney “choking with traffic.” Musk responded that it would cost around $15 million per kilometer for a bi-directional high-speed tunnel, equating to $750 million for the whole route. Musk also stated that stations to enter and exit the tunnel would cost around $50 million each.
A key goal of The Boring Company is to reduce the cost of tunneling, which it estimates costs around $1 billion per mile on average. The firm’s Hawthorne tunnel cost $10 million, excluding research and development but including the stations. The tunnels, which measure 14 feet wide, are designed for electric autonomous cars fitted with guide wheels to whizz through at speeds of up to 150 mph. Musk claims that pedestrians and cyclists will be able to call on cars to pick them up.
The Sydney project could be the firm’s first tunnel outside of the United States. It’s already outlined plans for a “dugout loop” to connect the Los Angeles Dodgers stadium to the nearby metro, and it’s working with the city of Chicago to build a connection between the airport and downtown area. Musk is no stranger to the Australian public sector, though: Mike Cannon-Brookes, an entrepreneur that Buckingham tagged in his post, previously convinced Musk to come and build the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in South Australia, a project that received support from the state government.
Buckingham stated that he would speak with state premier Gladys Berejiklian about the plan. With New South Wales scheduled to hold an election on March 23, though, Musk may find an entirely new team in charge relatively soon.
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