Musk almost ready to unveil new tunneling machine
- Elon Musk said his Boring Co. venture is about a month or so away from unveiling its new tunnel boring machine (TBM), the Line-Storm, according to a post to Musk’s Twitter account.
- Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, added that The Boring Co. team is currently focusing on achieving both a higher speed with the machine and tight follow distances in the test tunnel.
- The company’s goal with its machines, according to Inverse, is to be able to dig continuously versus the 10 minutes per hour that current machines on the market can operate. Other goals for Musk’s TBMs are to be able to add modified cutters, automated segment erection and to triple the machines' power. The company reportedly was able to dig its 1.14-mile test tunnel in Hawthorne, California, for $10 million, a fraction of what it costs to dig one using standard machines and tunneling methods.
The Line-Storm would be The Boring Co.’s second new TBM. The first is called “Godot,” which dug the Hawthorne tunnel. In 2017, Musk announced that the Line-Storm machine was almost ready to drop, so the construction industry, as well as patient Musk fans, are likely more than ready to see if the new TBM lives up to the hype.
The Boring Co.'s ability to dig tunnels faster and at a lower cost than the methods currently used forms the basis of the plans Musk has for several high-speed transportation projects.
One of those projects is an express transit system from downtown Chicago to O’Hare International Airport. The city selected The Boring Co. to build the system in June 2018, and at the time, Musk said construction could begin within three to four months on the underground, twin-tunnel system that will be able to get commuters from downtown to the airport — and vice versa — in 12 minutes via electric vehicles that travel at speeds of 100 miles per hour or faster.
However, The Boring Co. has been in negotiations with the city since then regarding costs and a schedule with no signal that the parties are close to reaching an agreement. Further, there is a general sense that neither candidate in Chicago's mayoral election runoff is inclined to move forward with the project.
Lori Lightfoot, according to Curbed Chicago, said she has doubts that the project could be completed with only private funding as promised, and Toni Preckwinkle said she would put the project on hold if elected.
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