Elon Musk’s “boring” plans are about to get started, the eccentric billionaire has confirmed, as he prepares to disrupt another transportation system. Musk left followers scratching their heads late last year, when he suggested on Twitter that he had become so frustrated by traffic congestion in Los Angeles that he would address the issue by drilling tunnels. At the time, it wasn’t entirely clear whether he was joking or not.
Now, though, it appears that Musk certainly wasn’t joking, and moreover that plans have been moving at a fair clip. In a new tweet this week, he revealed that digging should start “in a month or so” and that there has been “exciting progress” in the scheme. In a follow-up posting, he suggested that digging would begin at the junction of Crenshaw and the 105 freeway, which just happens to be opposite Musk’s desk at SpaceX.
Exciting progress on the tunnel front. Plan to start digging in a month or so.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 25, 2017
Still unclear at this stage is where, exactly, Musk envisages the tunnel going. Since he has a home in Bel Air, it seems likely that he’d want to trim his commute by connecting that with SpaceX. Although there’s only roughly a 20 mile distance between the two locations, LA traffic and the proximity of LAX airport along the route can mean considerable traffic and several-hour-long delays at times.
Musk first announced his plans to experiment with tunneling in mid-December 2016. “Traffic is driving me nuts,” the Tesla chief executive complained on Twitter. “Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…”
Indeed, Musk even had a name in mind for the newly-created business. Dubbing it “The Boring Company”, the tagline would be “Boring, it’s what we do.” Pestered for clarification as to whether he was joking, Musk insisted that “I am actually going to do this.”
Of course, doubts lingered, but that appears to be something Musk is putting to rest. Although getting into the tunnel business seems an unlikely move, this is actually not completely new territory for Musk. Previously, he has commented on the practicality of taking more transportation underground, envisaging greater use of car tunnels to avoid inclement weather and more.
Indeed Musk even used the idea to pour cold water on one of the mainstays of futurologists, flying cars. Going beneath the ground rather than flying above it, he argued, was not only safer but far more practical. That said, we’re not precluding the idea of a flying Tesla at some point in the future: we’ve seen enough from Musk to know that it’s best to prepare for the unexpected.