Friday, 20 July, 2018

Chicago taps Musk's firm to build high-speed tunnel to O'Hare

The Boring Company hyperloop through Chicago News Elon Musk wins improbably cheap bid to dig a tunnel through Chicago Chris Mills
Kenneth Drake | 15 June, 2018, 11:02

Musk's The Boring Company has won a bid to build and operate a multi-billion dollar high-speed commuter system in downtown Chicago.

Conceptual drawing of the Block 37 superstation, when completed as the downtown terminal for The Chicago Express Loop, a high-speed public transit system to O'Hare International Airport.

Drilling for the project, pending regulatory and environmental approvals, could begin in as soon as three to four months, said Musk, who also founded and heads luxury electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc and rocket maker SpaceX.

Musk's plan beat out competition from another bidder, O'Hare Xpress LLC, a consortium of investors and engineering and transit companies. Musk founded the company in the hope of alleviating city gridlock by building more tunnels, an endeavor that has set the company's engineers toward improving tunneling techniques.

Elon Musk has taken on a task perhaps more challenging than launching rockets into space: getting passengers from Chicago's O'Hare to the Loop in 12 minutes, roughly three to four times as fast as the current taxi journey. Public transit from the airport to downtown now takes approximately 45 minutes.


Musk, who also owns Tesla, said last July that the government provided The Boring Company with verbal confirmation to construct an underground hyper loop that would connect New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. That technology would be designed for longer distances, like, say, Chicago to NY. It would utilize a mothballed station under Block 37, the launching spot in the Loop for the line that would be known as the Chicago Express.

If all goes well in the contract-negotiation process, The Boring Company's selection by the city of Chicago is the most significant stepping stone for the company to date.

The deal comes about a month after Musk unveiled a plan to burrow a high-speed network of "personalized mass transit" tunnels under Los Angeles that he said could be built without disturbance or noise at the surface. "Given his track record, we are taking his reputation and saying, 'This is a guy in two other transportation modes who has not failed.' That's what we're doing".

According to published reports, The Boring Co. has estimated the project would cost less than $1 billion. The Loop's 18-mile route supposedly would cost passengers $20 to $25 per trip. The Boring Company released Wednesday renderings of what the underground system and rail cars would look like.

According to the Boring Company, the skates would have Wi-Fi and be large enough to hold passengers and cargo.

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