UPDATE: Feb. 19, 2020: Work on the first of two nearly 1-mile-long underground tunnels at the Las Vegas Convention Center has been completed, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). The construction process included three months of tunneling about 40 feet below ground. Tunneling finished near the convention center’s West Hall.
The boring machine will now be disassembled and moved via trucks to the convention center’s South Hall. When reassembled, the machine will tunnel a path parallel to the one already carved.
The LVCVA announced the tunnel should be open and operational for moving convention-goers by January 2021, but did not say how long the second tunnel may take.
- Elon Musk's tunneling company, The Boring Co., will begin underground construction on a tunnel for a tram system at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Friday, Nov. 15.
- The company’s first major underground tunneling project paired it with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). The people mover project is contracted at $52.5 million and scheduled to be completed in January 2021, in time for the annual Consumer Electronics Show. Aboveground work on stations and stops began last month, after TBC's boring machine was assembled on site.
- The convention center loop could be just the start of TBC’s work in Las Vegas. The tunneling company is currently working with the local government on a possible project to construct a tunnel underneath the Las Vegas strip, Jackie Dennis, director of communications for the LVCVA, told Construction Dive.
Most of the effort to this point on the system has involved piecing together the components of the boring machine on site. When tunneling gets underway, it will give The Boring Co. and LVCVA a better idea of the timeline, because they still do not know what they may be dealing with underground, according Dennis.
The Boring Co.’s goal is to dig tunnels faster and cheaper using their boring machines. The Las Vegas tunnel could be the next step for TBC, after completing an R&D test tunnel in Hawthorne, California. That tunnel cost $10 million, and is used to test sleds that can travel up to 125 mph.
Musk also has plans for a tunnel under Chicago, but has yet to reach an agreement with the city. The Vegas project is the first that TBC has gotten approved.
The deal was struck in May of this year, amid plans to expand the convention center footprint, adding 1.4 million square feet to the 2.3 million-square-foot footprint. The expansion, like the people mover loop, will be finished in January 2021, Dennis said.
The process for finding a contractor began in 2018. TBC claims the loop will be designed to move 4,400 passengers per hour.
When completed, the convention center will be about 1.5 miles long, and Dennis says the new tunnel system will allow passengers to travel the full distance, which could take a half an hour to walk, in just a few minutes. Using the tram will be free for patrons of the convention center.
“This is the next major attraction for Vegas,” Dennis said. The loop will consist of two 1-mile-long tunnels.
Previous announcements said the new tunnel system will also include elevators and escalators to provide access to each station; protection from the elements for pedestrians; video surveillance; WiFi; vehicular tunnel access; and underground passenger stations.
When contacted by Construction Dive, a spokesperson for TBC declined to comment on the project at this point.