Elon Musk One Step Closer to Two-Mile Tunnel in California


Hawthorne, California may soon be home to Elon Musk’s two-mile long test tunnel.

Hawthorne’s City Council has unanimously voted to review the potential health and environmental effects of Musk’s proposed tunnel. The review will cover everything from worker safety to the emissions from the construction to possible environmental impacts. This review could take one to three months to complete. The Council may still decide to begin another, more rigorous environmental review while they look into Musk’s plan.

The Boring Company, Musk’s new tunneling venture, has already created a 500-foot tunnel 20 feet below SpaceX’s parking lot, but it lacks the permits it would need to continue under public land. As described, the tunnel would gradually descend from 20 feet underground to 43 feet to avoid interacting with other underground utilities. At that depth, the City Council believes that Hawthorne locals would be unable to feel or hear the tunneling.

The City Council’s review will not be the only organization The Boring Co. would need to convince before they can begin tunneling. The Los Angeles County Fire Department and the state Division of Occupational Safety Health (Cal/OSHA) are both currently inspecting the construction plans. Even the Federal Aviation Administration is making sure that the Musk’s plans will not interfere with their underground fiber optic lines.

As is often the case with Musk, these ambitious goals are only the beginning of an almost unbelievable long-term project. If all goes as planned for Musk, this two-mile tunnel will be the first leg of a six-mile underground shortcut from the SpaceX parking lot to the Los Angeles International Airport. However, continuing the tunnel would require more permits from numerous other state and local parties. Musk has said that he eventually hopes to use this new tunneling technology to construct a massive tunnel connecting New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. with a Hyperloop train. If completed, this would allow for traffic-free travel at speeds of hundreds of miles an hour. However, that is still many years away from fruition.