After building crews spent months drilling, digging, scratching, coating, lining and electrifying tunnels, Las Vegas media representatives were invited underground to get their first look at The Boring Co.’s $ 52.5 million people- mover system Thursday.
Trips through the tunnels are an “only in Las Vegas” experience with LED lighting that cycles through a rainbow of colors from one to another lining the tunnel walls.
Cars have enough space in the tunnels so riders can open doors and get out in an emergency.
Drivers hit maximum speeds of approx. 35 km / h on the straight road of the tunnels. The electric vehicles run silently on the underground paved surfaces. At the ends of the tunnel, Model X and Model 3 Teslas climb a ramp to reach the surface.
Parallel tunnels nearly a mile long will pass conventional passengers to and from three stations once the system, developed by entrepreneur Elon Musk, becomes fully operational. A certificate of occupancy has been issued to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Crews began drilling the 4475-foot dirt and rock 40-foot underground in November 201
Looking into one of the tunnels in the Boring Company’s Convention Center Loop. #vegas #boringcompany #elonmusk pic.twitter.com/e7ilc6ZmgQ
– Mick Akers (@mickakers) April 9, 2021
Throughout the construction, The Boring Co. would not letting media members see progress, but invited members of the LVCVA board and dignitaries from other municipalities to see them.
Musk tweeted occasional photos from the tunnels and stations.
Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said Tesla sedans would initially be used for the system, and eventually there may be higher-capacity vehicles.
“It seems like during a pandemic there is no time to increase capacity,” Hill said before several journalists set off on rides to the ends of the system.
Hill said the Tesla fleet started at 11 vehicles and is expected to expand to 35 and eventually reach 60.
When Boring Co. is operational, it will drive Tesla vehicles through the tunnel and turn a 15km long walk on the surface into a trip that takes a few minutes. Tesla vehicles that can carry up to 16 passengers are expected to be used in the system, but it has not been revealed when these vehicles would be delivered.
While the tunnels and vehicles are designed to operate in autonomous condition, LVCVA officials have said Boring Co. drivers will be hired in the early stages of operation for added safety.
The system is designed with three stations, one underground near the entrance to the Las Vegas Convention Center Central Hall and two underground stations at the two ends of the system. Paved ramps are in place for vehicles to climb to the surface for loading above ground at the eastern and western ends of the route. The eastern station, known as Station 1, is close to an entrance to the South Hall, while Station 3, on the west side of the Convention Center campus, is close to the new West Hall.
No details on queuing and loading procedures or waiting times for rides are given.
Here is the escalator down to Central Station in the Boring Company’s Convention Center Loop. #veg #boringcompany #elonmusk pic.twitter.com/RS0g3AuPKO
– Mick Akers (@mickakers) April 8, 2021
Future tunnel projects
Other tunnel projects from Boring Co. is on the horizon in Las Vegas. Direct tunnels connecting the Las Vegas Convention Center with Encore Las Vegas and with Resorts World Las Vegas have been negotiated by Wynn Resorts Ltd., operators of Encore, and Genting Group, which is building Resorts World.
In addition, The Boring Co. has negotiated with the city of Las Vegas and Clark County to develop what is called the “Vegas Loop,” a 15-mile underground transportation system with stations at local resorts and attractions.
Hill said Boring has indicated that the cost of driving in the Vegas Loop system would be somewhere between the amount it would take to ride a bus and the amount it would cost for an Uber ride. Like traditional carriers, the cost would be per. Vehicle and not per. Person.
The biggest difference between the Vegas Loop and the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop, in addition to length, is the Convention Center People-Mover, contracted to be built by LVCVA, will be free for convention customers to ride, while the Vegas Loop is built speculation with resorts , who pay for their own stations, and riders are charged for being transported within the tunnels to their destinations.
The contract to build the Convention Center Loop was controversial because Musk’s company had never built one for commercial use, and the local system will be the first to operate. The city of Miami has been interested in the system because it is considering a tunnel under the Miami River to connect downtown with the Brickell Financial District.
Tesla’s has drivers when the Boring Company system at the Las Vegas Convention Center launches, but the plan is to convert to autonomous rides in the future. #vegas #boringcompany pic.twitter.com/JWak5q8vNL
– Mick Akers (@mickakers) April 8, 2021
A major advantage of the Musk system is that it is inexpensive to build. Tunnels are much narrower than conventional subway tunnels, and The Boring Co.’s drilling machine manufactures bricks to line the tunnel when it digs, making it economical to build.
The Boring Co. has said that the city-wide tunnel system will function as driving with a passenger choosing the destination and the vehicle takes the most direct route there without stopping at other stations.
The company has not announced how much it expects to charge passengers.
Contact Richard N. Velotta at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.