After unveiling its first test tunnel in 2018, Elon Musk’s tunnel company, the “Boring Company,” has opened its first fully operational underground “Loop” beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Those attending a convention at the Center are now able to take a ride, and there are already plans to extend the Loop from downtown Las Vegas, through the Strip, and toward both the Las Vegas airport and the Las Vegas Raiders stadium, in what Lori Nelson-Kraft from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority described as a “gamechanger” for transport in the world famous tourist destination.
In 2018, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk “officially opened the highly anticipated first Boring Company test tunnel under SpaceX headquarters in the Southern California city of Hawthorne, where The Boring Company is also located,” as reported by CNET at the time.
“Measuring 1.4 miles (2.3 kilometers) long and 14 feet (4.3 meters) wide, the test tunnel winds its way underneath Hawthorne and is estimated to have cost $10 million,” reported CNET. “This, Boring notes, is a fraction of the cost of traditional tunneling.”
The tunnel existed “as a research and development tunnel for Boring’s aspirations of improving tunneling capabilities and creating new modes of public transport.”
“The concept is surprisingly simple,” explained Claire Reilly of CNET. “Avoid gridlock by taking traffic underground. Simplify the transport experience by putting high-tech vehicles (read: Teslas) on a one-way loop and delivering on-demand rides. Dig tunnels where once there was dirt.”
According to The Boring Company’s website, “Loop is an all-electric, zero-emissions, high-speed underground public transportation system in which passengers are transported to their destination with no intermediate stops. Also known as ‘Teslas in Tunnels!’”
The website explains that “Loop is an express public transportation system that resembles an underground highway more than a subway system,” with an efficient system whereby “passengers travel directly to their destination” without having to stop at intermediate stations in a similar manner to subway systems.
“Loop passenger capacity is a function of the quantity of tunnels, quantity of stations, the size of stations, and the quantity of operating vehicles,” The Boring Company added. “The LVCC Loop system is designed for 4,400 passengers per hour (with 3 large stations), while Vegas Loop is targeting 51,000 passengers per hour (with 43 medium-sized stations).”
In addition to efficiency and convenience, The Boring Company went on to explain the safety benefits provided by such an underground system, and that “When designed properly, tunnels are some of the safest places to be during an earthquake.”
“From a structural safety standpoint, the tunnel moves uniformly with the ground, in contrast to how surface structures react to earthquakes. Additionally, a large amount of earthquake damage is caused by falling debris, which does not happen inside of tunnels,” The Boring Company said. Such examples of tunnel safety included the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and the 1985 Mexico City earthquake.
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