Elon Musk got the green light to expand his tunnelling project under LA — but there’s a catch

Boring company photo
The Boring Company’s tunnelling machine, dubbed Godot. Screenshot

Building a massive network of underground tunnels is no small technological feat, but securing regulatory approval is arguably the biggest challenge.

Serial entrepreneur Elon Musk said he wants to build a network of 30 underground tunnels beneath Los Angeles that can transport cars on an electric skate. The Boring Company, Musk’s latest venture handling the project, has dug a 160-foot test tunnel on SpaceX’s parking lot to prove its technology.

Musk’s vision still has a long way to go before it becomes a reality, but the SpaceX and Tesla CEO secured a huge win last week when Hawthorne’s city council granted him permission to extend the SpaceX tunnel in a 4-1 vote, the Daily Breeze reported.

The vote would allow the Boring Company to extend the tunnel an additional two miles. Although the city council’s approval serves as a vote of confidence, the company will still need to secure an “encroachment permit” to actually start digging, Verge reported.

The tunnel can only be used to test the company’s tunnelling and electric skate technology. The Boring Company did not immediately return Business Insider’s request for comment.

Boring Company is currently testing a tunnel boring machine that was used for a sewer project in Sunnydale, California. The ultimate goal is to use the machine, named Godot, to learn how tunnelling technology can be altered to dig tunnels faster and at a lower cost.

The company will also use the extension to test an electric skate that Musk has said could rocket cars through the tunnel at speeds up to 210km/h.

The Boring Company has already installed the skate, which can fit a Tesla:

Musk’s ultimate aim is to extend the tunnel to Los Angeles International Airport. However, the city of Hawthorne can request that the Boring Company fill the tunnel back up with soil once the tests are complete, according to the Verge.