Elon Musk is busy making headlines once again for the $48.6 million contract that his Boring Company just signed with the City of Las Vegas. Specifically, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority voted to approve the impressive contract with Musk’s company and reports that they are excited about the possibilities of partnering with the company. The contract is for the development and installation of an innovative underground transit system to help move vehicles and people more efficiently and safely around the always busy convention area in downtown Las Vegas. This project is being touted as nothing less than a total game changer when it comes to improving major event logistics and easing up on the flow of foot and vehicle traffic in the area. Other cities are bound to latch onto the event planning possibilities after seeing this project be pulled off successfully by the Boring Company. The work on the project is scheduled to be completed so that the underground system is completely operational and fully tested by January of 2021. The tight turnaround time on the project leaves little room for error, but in light of the proven track record of Musk’s many operations, the City of Las Vegas has complete confidence that the construction will be ready in sufficient time.
The big push to have the underground transit system installed on a tight schedule is that the Consumer Electronics Show will be held in the Las Vegas Convention Center and always draws one of the largest crowds of the year. It will be great timing for the city to show off its innovation in transit and encourage visitors and business owners to return to Las Vegas to hold other major events or enjoy the conference center area. When asked about whether he thinks the right timeline for this major project will be an issue for concern, Musk referenced the several other successful projects that have already been timely completed by the Boring Company. He does not foresee any issue in safely and securely completing the project on time. In fact, Musk is so confident in his company’s ability to complete all project work timely that he thinks it may be possible to see the LVCC Loop totally functional by the end of this year. Even if he does not achieve that lofty goal, final testing of the LVCC Loop is slated to begin by November 2020 at the latest. Musk announced on Twitter recently that the Boring Company is ready to break ground on the LVCC Loop project in about two months.
One of the reasons why there was so much public and private interest support in this transit project was that the contract was structured so that the company would not receive substantial payment until all the work was completed and approved. This alleviated any concerns that a relatively new company may not be able to adequately deliver on a cutting-edge project of this magnitude in a timely fashion. The risk of using a less experienced and more cash-strapped company would be that incomplete construction could spell disaster for the thousands of people moving through the area for conventions and major public events. Knowing that a company with the prestige and reputation of the Boring Company was behind the design and implementation put any doubts to rest that the project was more than could be reasonably expected to be completed within a short deadline and without putting public safety at risk. Because Las Vegas is so dependent on tourism as a source of revenue and employment for its residents, the city could not afford to risk a major blunder on a project of this scale and visibility.
The official name of the transit project is the LVCC Loop. The designs approved by the city for the tunnel system include two separate tunnel lanes for cars or trucks as well as a separately protected tunnel lane exclusively for pedestrians. There has not been any information released yet regarding any weight or height restrictions for the types of cars or trucks that will be allowed to pass through the two tunnel lanes. It also remains to be seen whether there will be accommodations specifically for motorcycles and bikes or if they will be allowed entry into the tunnel system at all.
Along with the vehicle and pedestrian lanes within the underground tunnel, there will be security stations and control rooms. This will allow for constant monitoring of flow and any security issues. The stations will be attended at all times so that there will be trained personnel on site to respond to any issues that may arise. Passengers and pedestrians will enjoy constant WiFi access while underground in the tunnel. The project is also being designed with accessibility issues in mind for handicapped users. There will be both stairwells and elevators installed for easy and sufficient access to the transit lanes down below.
In terms of public safety considerations, one of the many benefits of installing this underground tunnel system in such a prominent area is that it will be much easier to monitor for security concerns. Traffic patterns and pedestrian movement will be contained to a precise area, which means monitoring any video cameras for security concerns will be much easier. Authorities may have a much quicker response time in addressing any potential threats in the area. Given that the security monitoring systems and equipment to be installed in the tunnel is significantly more advanced than any of the cameras already in use by the city, the quality of any footage obtained as evidence from the video cameras is bound to be more helpful to the authorities in identifying and tracking down a suspect after an incident.
Another major safety concern that the loop system is expected to immediately address is the accidents involving pedestrians that invariably occur in areas like the Las Vegas Convention Center based simply on the degree of congestion. Separating the pedestrian walking and vehicle lanes will reduce the potential for accidents and speed up the transit time for vehicles that no longer have to wait at multiple intersections for pedestrian crossing. In addition, environmental advocates are pleased with the potential for reducing the overall amount of air pollution in the city area because of quicker traffic flow and shorter wait times at traffic lights and intersections.
The construction horizon looks exceedingly bright for the Boring Company as it completes the LVCC Loop. It has already successfully constructed a public transit tunnel system I. Hawthorne, California. The Boring Company is now in the final stages of bidding for a tunnel project at Chicago O’Hare airport. Also, it is the lead contender for a highly-anticipated tunnel train system between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland. Once the project passes some environmental impact studies, it is expected to get swiftly underway. Finally, the Boring Company is in talks with the City of Los Angeles to design and build a two-mile tunnel project for the Dodger Stadium. Demand across the country for these innovative transit systems is only expected to increase as public officials and citizens can experience the improvement in traffic flow for themselves.
So far, all of the loop projects that have been announced by the Boring Company have been slated for the U.S. Analysts reason that the ability of the Boring Company to pull off several of these transit projects across the country will help the U.S. keep pace and possibly even beat many European counties when it comes to convenience and accessibility of their transit systems. What remains to be seen is if these loop projects will be developed on a larger scale, meaning that average daily commuters would be able to rely on underground loops to ease congestion and improve commute times in commercial areas. For now, the projects seem to be concentrated in tourist and entertainment areas instead of focusing more specifically on reducing the daily rush hour grind in urban business districts.
With the value of the Boring Company expected to skyrocket after the completion of some of its planned transit projects, Musk remains in a strong position to continue to innovate in the transit sector. There seems to be no end in sight to his creativity and willingness to tackle some of the most complex and far-reaching issues facing society today. It is anticipated that his companies will have a much easier path to getting on the ground to build major projects because skeptics will be faced with a longer track record of effective projects completed under Musk’s vision and leadership.