Musk's Boring Company Gets Approval to Build a Tunnel in Florida
Elon Musk's Boring Company has formally submitted its proposal for building an underground transit system between downtown and the beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The proposal has come after months of discussion between the company and the city authorities looking to resolve parking issues at the beach. The confirmation came after a tweet from Mayor Dean Trantalis.
Fort Lauderdale formally accepted tonight a proposal from @elonmusk's @boringcompany to build an underground transit system between downtown and the beach. Other firms have 45 days to submit competing proposals. This could be a truly innovative way to reduce traffic congestion. pic.twitter.com/R7Bh2NPVnl— Mayor Dean J. Trantalis (@DeanTrantalis) July 7, 2021
Details of the project are currently withheld since the city's laws require competitive bidding for its projects and other companies have a 45 day period, in which they could submit their proposals.
Dubbed the Las Olas Loop, after the current road that connects downtown to the beach, the tunnel will offer visitors options to park at the Brightline train station and take a ride in the Tesla through the tunnel. The city planners estimate this ride to cost between $5-8 per person, as against an Uber that costs $10, CNN reported.
Currently, the state of Florida has only two tunnel projects. The limestone under the surface makes it tricky to bore tunnels. While tunneling technology has improved over the years, the topography of the area can make it a real challenge to bore tunnels, unlike how Musk had claimed in his popular 2016 tweet.
Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging...— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 17, 2016
It is easier to bore through hard rock or soil but not limestone that has natural holes in it. Florida also has high groundwater levels and gets higher rainfall increasing chances of flooding the tunnels, when built. The area is also home to underground aquifers, which need to be protected.
The Boring Company is banking on reduced costs of tunneling to push through its concepts of removing congestion in cities. It had almost convinced the Mayor of Miami to begin a project in the city earlier this year, but further details are still awaited.
Later in June, The Boring Company did manage to unveil its first project in Las Vegas after 18 months of construction activity to reduce a 45-minute walk to a two-minute ride. But the project has been criticized as a vanity project, with a focus on using Tesla cars and not using a bus or a train, that could ferry passengers in a more efficient manner.