The Boring Company‘s first project should be completed by the end of the year, CEO Elon Musk said Wednesday.
The company, born out of the billionaire’s hatred of freeway traffic, has been tapped to build a one-mile tunnel to connect two ends of the Las Vegas Convention Center at a total cost of $48 million, the city’s convention and visitors authority said in a press release.
Details for the contract include three underground passenger stations, a pedestrian tunnel and two vehicular tubes, which will all be outfitted with escalator access, lighting, WiFi coverage, cell phone data, and video surveillance systems.
“Las Vegas will continue to elevate the experience of our visitors with innovation, such as with this project, and by focusing on the current and future needs of our guests,” Steve Hill, LVCVA CEO and president, said in a press release.
Eventually, the Boring Company proposes, the tunnels could stretch beyond the convention center, to connect the Casino-lined Strip and to the airport at speeds of 155 miles per hour. At its first unveiling in December 2018, the company showed off a small-scale tunnel which reached about one-third of those targeted speeds.
Las Vegas is notably the first paying customer to seal a deal with Musk’s tunneling venture, after a $1 billion bid to connect Chicago’s downtown Loop to O’Hare airport hit the skids. Other proposed projects in Los Angeles and Washington D.C. are also in holding patterns awaiting environmental assessments and other public input.
Transportation experts have criticized Musk’s plan for small-scale people movers in smaller-than-usual tunnel diameters as near-sighted and less effective than traditional public transit. In Los Angeles, for example, the proposed system would travel only three miles to Dodger Stadium, and carry far fewer people than a subway or dedicated bus lane.
“His machines that build tunnels look pretty standard. I’ve not seen anything from him that is different from what other people do except for the smaller diameter,” Herbert Einstein, an MIT engineering professor and tunneling expert told Forbes in April 2018.
“What is new, or somewhat new, is that pod, the thing that goes into it and goes over long distances. … This really looks like more a vehicle development, rather than tunnel development.”