Lawsuits, man. Elon Musk's Boring Company abandoned its plan to dig a tunnel under the west side of Los Angeles and the city settled the lawsuit brought by two neighborhood groups opposed to the project.
The project, announced last spring, involved the construction of a 4 km test tunnel under Sepulveda Boulevard, adjacent to the crowded Highway 405, on a public domain. The Boring Company hoped to use the tunnel construction process to understand the specific challenges associated with tunnel construction in this part of the Los Angeles soil and bedrock, and to refine the proposed transit system.
What Boring calls "The Loop" would pull electrically propelled platforms from passenger-filled pods through a network of underground tunnels at 150 km / h and would thus be a deadly blow to the problem of traffic and traffic. pollution of Los Angeles. According to Mr. Musk, the Boring technology should make the tunnel boring up to 15 times faster than current processes and reduce the cost by 10. Professional tunnel engineers have cast doubt on these claims, but if Musk deserves credits for anything in his car. the construction, the career of rocket shooter, it is an exploit of technical mastery.
The abandoned Sepulveda Tunnel, however, points to a thorny truth: in terms of infrastructure, particularly in California, moonlighting technology could be the easiest part. This requires public approval and an authorization process that will kill your dreams.
The lawsuit, filed last May against the City of Los Angeles by the Sunset Coalition and the Brentwood Residents Coalition, alleged that the Boring Company had unduly avoided environmental review by suggesting that the tunnel would be a stand-alone project. California's Environmental Studies Acts do not allow for piecemeal approval of infrastructure projects, and the groups have asserted that the Boring Proof-of-Concept Tunnel was only one of a kind. an element of what would one day be a sprawling network of tunnels throughout LA County. . In a joint statement, the parties stated that the complaint had been "amicably settled", but did not reveal the details.
Critics had predicted that California's environmental assessment rules would be an obstacle to the Boring Company's ambitious plans to eliminate traffic in Los Angeles. Juan Matute, who studies urban mobility as associate director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UCLA, explains that the idea of innovating in the public right of passage is philosophically in contradiction with the current functioning of environmental regulation in the state – for better or for the future. worst.
"This approach is fundamentally opposed to what local governments and public sector actors expect after more than 45 years of environmental review: the public will know everything about the project and the potential risks to the environment before that its officials do not approve, even for a small phase. of a project, "Matute told WIRED in May.
Nevertheless, the Boring company has a lot of work in the area. Musk said he would like to weave hundreds or even thousands of small stations into the subway, supported by layers and layers of tunnels 14 feet in diameter. Next month, BoCo plans to open to the public a 3 km test tunnel at Hawthorne, right next to the SpaceX headquarters. He announced the construction of a new test tunnel, facilitating access to the Dodger Stadium. In July, Musk quietly founded a new company called The Brick Store LLC, which will sell bricks made up of the earth extracted from its various infrastructure projects in a physical store located just above the exit of the test tunnel. Hawthorne.
The Boring Company also proposed to build a 35-mile "loop" to link Maryland to Washington, DC, and is allowed to begin preliminary digs at both sites. And in June, the city of Chicago chose Boring to "enter into exclusive negotiations" to establish a high-speed connection between its downtown core and O & # 39; Hare Airport . (The company has not responded to questions regarding the status of the Chicago project.) An official agreement is essential for major infrastructure work. But as the scalloped Sepulveda project clearly shows, it takes a lot more than that to get to an inauguration ceremony.
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