Judicial proceedings, man. Elon Musk's Boring Company has abandoned its plan to excavate a tunnel under western Los Angeles after the city has decided for litigation that brought two groups in the neighborhood that opposed the scheme.
The project, which was announced last spring, included the construction of a 2.7-mile test tunnel under Sepulveda Boulevard, adjacent to a crowded 405 highway under public property. Boring Company hoped to use the tunnel construction to understand the specific tunnel challenges in this part of the LA and subsoil and to improve its proposed bulk transport system.
What the boring company calls a "loop" would shoot the shots charged by people on the electric platforms through a network of underground tunnels at a speed of 150 kilometers per hour, thus achieving the lethal impact of LA and pollution. Musk says Boring Company technology should make tunnel boreholes up to 15 times faster than today's processes and reduce their costs by factor 10. Professional tunnel engineers have questioned these demands but if Musk deserves credit for anything in the car-building, rocket fire, these are the engineering mastery performances.
The abandoned Sepulveda tunnel, however, points to the harder truth: in terms of infrastructure, particularly in California, the easy part of the moon-shot technology may be. It goes through a process of public approval and authorization, which is likely to kill your dreams.
This lawsuit, filed in May against Los Angeles by the Sunset coalition and the Brentwood Resident Coalition, claimed that Boring's company mistakenly avoided environmental review by indicating that the tunnel would be a separate project. California environmental laws do not allow the infrastructure projects to be approved in part, and the groups claimed that the proposed Boring Company tunnel was just one part of what would once have become a vast tunnel network across LA. In a joint statement, the parties stated that the action was "friendly," but did not disclose its details.
Critics have predicted that environmental control rules in California will become an obstacle to Boring's ambitious plans to eradicate LA traffic. Juan Matute, who studies urban mobility as the head of UCLA's Transport Studies Institute, says the idea of innovation in public administration is philosophically contradictory to how environmental regulations in the state are currently working – worse.
"This approach is fundamentally at odds with what local and public officials expect from a 45-year environmental review: that the public will know everything about the project and potential threats to the environment before public officials approve even a small phase of the project," said Matute in May to WIRED.
However, Boring Company has a lot of work in the area. Musk said he would want to weave hundreds or even thousands of small stations across the entirety of submerged layers and tunnel strata with a diameter of 14 feet. In the next month, BoCo plans to open a 2-kilometer test tunnel in Hawthorne, just off the SpaceX headquarters. It is said to go ahead with plans to build another test tunnel to make access to the Dodge Stadium easier. In July, Musk founded a new company called The Brick Store LLC, which will sell bricks made from soil extracted from various infrastructure projects in a brick and mortar shop just above the exit for the Hawthorne test tunnel.
Boring's company also proposed to build a 35-mile "Loop" for connecting Maryland and Washington, DC, and has permission to launch preliminary digging in both. And in June, the city of Chicago chose Boring to "enter into exclusive negotiations" and build a high-speed connection between the city center and O'Hare airport. (The company did not respond to questions about the state of the project in Chicago.) The official purchase is essential for the main infrastructure work. But, as the Sepulveda project does, it takes a lot more to kick off the ripping rite.
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