Proof of Concept

Elon Musk to bypass environmental review for test tunnel in L.A.

City Terrain Urbanism West
Elon Musk to bypass environmental review for test tunnels in L.A. (Courtesy The Boring Company)
Elon Musk to bypass environmental review for test tunnels in L.A. (Courtesy The Boring Company)

Billionaire Elon Musk and his Boring Company are moving forward with plans to build an underground network of personal vehicle tunnels below the streets of Los Angeles. 

After drilling a preliminary tunnel below the Tesla and SpaceX company headquarters in nearby Hawthorne, California, the company is now moving forward with an additional 2.7-mile “proof-of-concept” tunnel for a “zero-emissions, high-speed, underground, alternative means of transit for personal vehicles and/or single-rider use” that will run under Sepulveda Boulevard on L.A.’s Westside. The test tunnel will begin at 2352-2356 South Sepulveda Boulevard, a property owned by The Boring Company, Urbanize.LA reports. From there, it will run roughly 30-70 feet below ground to an area below the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Sepulveda Boulevard in Culver City. The tunnel will not daylight at this point, according to initial documentation.  

The tunneling depth will allow the engineers to avoid underground utilities and other potential obstructions and is subject to change as conditions closer to the surface permit. Though the route has been vetted for the potential existence of archeological and paleontological materials, plans for independent monitors will be put in place should any sensitive resources be discovered over the course of work on the tunnel.

The test tunnel would run 2.7-miles below the streets of Los Angeles. (Courtesy City oif Los Angeles)

In order to build the tunnel, The Boring Company has received a preliminary reprieve from California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) restrictions at the behest of the Los Angeles City Council, which will also take up the final approval for the concept on behalf of the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering if the test tunnels are successful. Further sections beyond the test tunnel will be subject to a variety of environmental and community reviews. 

The Boring Company’s preliminary map for its proposed underground car network with “proof of concept” tunnel highlighted in red. (Courtesy The Boring Company)

The test tunnels will not be available for public use and will be used solely for testing of a proposed “skate” technology that could eventually be used to ferry automobiles and passengers throughout the system. 

The test tunnel is expected to be completed in nine months; a final timeline for approval and construction of a usable tunnel has not yet been released. 

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