Hawthorne City Council Approves Two-Mile Boring Company Tunnel

The Boring Company


In a 4-1 vote, the Hawthorne City Council has officially approved Elon Musk’s Boring Company underground tunnel.

As we recently reported just a ~week ago, The Boring Company made a presentation to the Hawthorne City Council, further detailing its intentions regarding future plans for a tunnel beneath the city. Elon Musk’s new venture secured permits to begin the process about two months back, and now the initial two-mile portion is set to roll.

Efforts thus far, which were part of the previous permitting, included only digging a 160-foot-long tunnel entrance on SpaceX property. Now with the council’s support, Godot is free to leave the property and head into Hawthorne. As The Boring Company moves forward, it will be assessing the environmental impacts of the project. As explained to the council in the recent presentation, the project will be set to cease if there are any issues.

When boring is underway, people in the area shouldn’t even be aware of its impact. At its deepest point, it will be 44-feet underground to avoid other utilities. SpaceX’s senior director of facilities and construction, Brett Horner, explained:

“You don’t see it, don’t hear it, and certainly don’t feel it.”

“Everything happens underground. We won’t have construction crews walking down the street. We won’t have excavators.”

According to Musk, the goal is to eventually extend the tunnel to Los Angeles International Airport. However, the company is still using old boring technology, which is a slow and tedious process. Musk shared:

“We hired a structural designer from a large consulting firm to design the tunnel based on LA Metro specs. We haven’t reinvented tunneling. We’re using proven technology and proven means and methods.”

Eventually, new research and technology should lead to a more efficient and green-friendly situation. The future Godot will feature electrification and automation. Also, the company has plans for using the excavated dirt to make earth bricks. This would save on shipping and concrete production, both of which add to our carbon footprint. The company explained:

“These bricks can potentially be used as a portion of the tunnel lining itself, which is typically built from concrete. Since concrete production accounts for 4.5% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, earth bricks would reduce both environmental impact and tunneling costs.”

Source: Daily Breeze

Categories: Tesla

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21 Comments on "Hawthorne City Council Approves Two-Mile Boring Company Tunnel"

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Sounds like they are going to bore the tunnel roughly west down W 120th to the Hawthrorne line. Then they may get permission to go further, maybe all the way to Sepulveda Blvd and hang a right.

That would be 5+ miles but it would connect Hawthorne to LAX with a tunnel that would make a great people mover line. One electric rail-car/bus could make a 14 to 16 minute round trip, no driver needed.

If the boring does in fact have no impact on people above it, which is not a completely sure thing, they may get permission to cut under homes and make the trip shorter.

How far is it to the Proterra plant? 😉

I think Proterra would love the PR of being a part of this!

What am I thinking!? Elon won’t want to share the PR buzz. He will have the Tesla crew develop a driverless, autonomous electric bus, no doubt.

Tesla (or at least Elon) has already talked about a Tesla Minibus.


Instead of creating a whole new transport network, why not they find a way to electrify the existing rail network by adding 3rd rail which will send power only when the train goes above it.

Already a company called Primove has demonstrated such technology.

Diesel locomotives burning bunker fuel leave lot of toxic emissions.

Diesel locomotives don’t use bunker fuel, and locomotives manufactured since 2008 all meet the Tier II pollution standards. They’re actually fairly clean (for a diesel engine, that is). When you consider how much they move compared to the equivalent number of trucks on the road, they’re squeaky clean.

Electrification still makes sense though. What I don’t understand is why they can’t add pantographs to the tops of existing diesel locomotives and then electrify all tracks running through cities. The diesel engine on all diesel locomotives just run generators that power the traction motors. It seems like those motors could be powered directly.

At Best, since this is a Small Portion of a Rail Lines total tracks, typically, the best they could do would be to Idle the Diesel Generators on the Cabs, while using power from the Panto-graph, then when they are about to drop the Overhead Connection, bring the diesels up to speed. Probably would need a bit of a Cab Controls Rework, and Crew Training, too!

The far simpler solution is to tow both a Diesel engine and an electric engine and swap power plants when electrification ends. In countries like India (too poor to waste two engines on a single train but have good, dense rail networks with accelerating electrification), they swap out engines at certain key stations. Where the swap happens changes as electrification moves forward over the years.

Because today’s eco crowd doesn’t like simple and elegantly engineered solutions? They need far-fetched solutions that are ironically named Boring!

If the boring concept works out, it will be far superior to trains. One can use their car to get to and exit tunnels.

You cannot have a train pick you up at your front door.

“Because today’s eco crowd doesn’t like simple and elegantly engineered solutions?”

A clumsy, sparking, inefficient pantograph pickup off overhead naked power lines which have to run everywhere the vehicle runs, is about as inelegant a solution as I could imagine for an EV!

The 1880s are calling — they want their EV back!

What I notice about the Techies now a days is they want a completely new extreamly complex system do the job of something that has been around for over a hundred and fifty years and is low cost.

If this tunnel where say used to extend a existing subway or extend a existing streetcar line or move a existing streetcar line underground. Then this new tunneling system under Musk’s idea to lower costs would save tons of money.

But if you factor in the Hyperloop and these moving car pods the costs could easily get above five to ten times the costs of a existing subway or car tunnel.

I certainly did not mean to appear to be defending the Boring Company concept. That’s one of the most wildly practical ideas I’ve ever seen given serious discussion.

But I don’t see Hyperloop that way. It’s proposed to be an alternative to airline travel, hopefully with similar or perhaps slightly lower costs. As compared to the complexity of modern airliners and airports, Hyperloop would be bog-simple!

Hyperloop was envisioned as a relatively low-tech, and more practical, alternative to the proposal for high-tech maglev railway systems which would be run inside an evacuated tunnel at supersonic speed. And let’s remember that the original Hyperloop concept involved using a tube system elevated on pylons above existing buildings, more like an elevated light rail system than this more recent Boring Co. concept of boring expensive tunnels everywhere.

I don’t know if Hyperloop can become a reality, but I’d certainly like to see some companies try!

Hmm… What can go wrong with a tunnel near a seismic active area?

Not much. Look at the safety record of tunnels in Japan and the Los Angeles area. There have been brutal earthquakes and the tunnels are safer than the streets.

There are tunnels that are under LA that have been abandoned for over 75 years and they have not caved in during a earthquake.

So, have they started up the tunnel boring machine yet?

Or are we Waiting for Godot?

* * * * *

I confess that, like the play, I don’t find this to be even remotely enthralling. This is using established tech, and it has nothing to do with the subject of EVs. Now, if the Boring Company becomes slightly less boring by getting a tunneling machine which moves, as Elon puts it, faster than a snail, then that might be mildly interesting.

I really think life would get better if Elon Musk’s machines could build bypass tunnels for a lot of over loaded subway lines and highways.

I really hope Elon Musk builds this tunnel to carry standard LA Metro Subway Cars or standard sized LA Streetcars in that this new tunnel could save the city hundreds of millions.

Such as if it’s built to handle metro train cars Elon Musk could always sell the two mile long tunnel to LA Metro for 50 million and get his money back plus some.

I really wish Elon Musk would try digging one of these new tunnels near a existing metro line so he could build his own spur line off the existing metro.

Unfortunately, Elon is pretty insistent on his idea of boring a tunnel barely large enough to fit in a single passenger car.

No shoulder, no double lane tunnels, no vehicles larger than a light truck… better hope there’s never any breakdown, because that would bring all the traffic in the entire tunnel behind the breakdown to a halt!


I personally think that Elon Musk should at least make it two lanes wide. In that if there is a fire in one of the cars. All the cars are going to get stuck behind it and in the tight spaces the fire will grow.

I completely agree. Two lanes wide, and a tunnel large enough in diameter to accommodate that, would be much more practical. I do realize that would involve removing a lot more material, and thus would be slower and more expensive to dig, but it seems to me that digging tunnels of such small diameter would be penny-wise and pound-foolish.