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New dawn for urban transport as Elon Musk unveils first underground tunnel

Putting an end to speculations, the futuristic transportation tunnel envisaged by Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk was opened in Los Angeles this week. The first of a series of underground tunnels, claimed to be a bankable solution to the region’s severe traffic congestion, was built by the Boring Company, an early-stage engineering firm founded by Musk.

When it was announced a couple of years ago, the high-speed underground tunnel network had raised many eyebrows amid widespread skepticism about its feasibility. The 1.14-mile segment that is operational now was reportedly built at a cost of about $10 million using new technology, which according to the company is cheaper compared to the traditional methods.

The subterranean transit system, which is said to be capable of ferrying passengers at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour, could revolutionize the transportation system in the US cities. The highly efficient machinery used for the purpose, as claimed by the company, adds to the hope that the model could be replicated in other areas in a time-bound manner.

The tunnel was reportedly built at a cost of $10 million, which according to the company is cheaper compared to the traditional methods

However, considering the challenges involved in the execution, it will be a long time before the system becomes operational in a full-fledged manner. Once that happens, the “skates,” platforms that carry passengers and automobiles, will descend to the underground tunnels and move at high speeds using electrical power.

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Though the company had offered a free ride to people on the first day, it was withdrawn over concerns that a large number of passengers might want to use the facility. As per the plan, the newly opened tunnel that runs through Hawthorne, an area in southwestern Los Angeles County, will be linked to a network of similar tunnels in future.

Earlier this year, Musk’s transportation initiative got a boost after the Boring Company was selected by the Chicago state authorities to build a 17-mile subterranean transit passage linking the city with the main airport.


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