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Elon Musk says he is serious about tunneling under Los Angeles

A Tesla Model S automobile stands in a light tunnel.
Jasper Juinen | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A Tesla Model S automobile stands in a light tunnel.

Billionaire Elon Musk says he really does plan to dig a tunnel to avoid LA traffic, and that he plans to start "digging next month."

Musk first announced his intentions in December, complaining that traffic in Los Angeles is out of control.

But that was then followed by some tweets that suggested he was joking.


Some have found it hard to believe that Musk, who already is pretty busy running Tesla (with its recent SolarCity acquisition), SpaceX, and the OpenAI project, is serious about boring through the earth beneath southern California to avoid traffic, but the entrepreneur has repeatedly stressed he is not merely trolling.

Musk said he plans to start digging "across from my desk at SpaceX. Crenshaw and the 105 Freeway, which is 5 mins from LAX." Crenshaw Boulevard is a major street in Los Angeles that runs past SpaceX headquarters and the adjacent Tesla Design Center.

As with any Musk project — self-driving cars, human colonies on Mars — questions remain over whether laws, or simple scientific realities, could stymie such a project.

A Musk spokesperson was not immediately available to comment.

It might not seem terribly wise digging underground in a city known for its earthquakes, but Los Angeles does have a underground rail system already — though it is far more limited in range than those in other major U.S. cities.

When Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer introduced a bill into the Senate in 2007 to allow for the expansion of Los Angeles' subway system, Feinstein said, "Experts have now assured us that tunneling technologies have improved sufficiently to allay" concerns over earthquake damage.

So Musk's tunnel may be possible.

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