The company has just begun navigating the regulatory hurdles for a two-mile test tunnel in SpaceX' back yard.
Elon Musk recently raised eyebrows when he said The Boring Company has received "verbal government approval" for a Hyperloop tunnel from New York City to Washington, DC, however the startup has just begun navigating significant regulatory hurdles for a two-mile test dig in SpaceX' own back yard.
The first project centers around a 12-foot tunnel under Hawthorne, California, at a depth of 20-24 feet. SpaceX senior director of construction Brett Horton told the city council the company will start with a traditional tunnel boring machine (TBM) that has already dug under Sunnyvale, allowing engineers to explore the machine's capabilities and consider improvements, according to a Wired report.
The first dig is expected to take just eight months and prove that Boring Co can safely operate at significant cost savings to traditional tunneling projects.
Horton told city council that the TBM, nicknamed Gadot, will not disturb residents or businesses as it digs through the ground. The company has already reached out to utility companies that have underground lines in the area.
An environmental review would typically be required for such infrastructure projects, adding time and money to the endeavor before the first shovel can pierce the ground, however Horton suggests Boring Co will seek an exemption.
"Because this is a test tunnel, because it's not meant for human occupancy and it's only a proof of concept, and also because all of the construction work is basically done on our private land, there is no cultural impact, there is no environmental impact, there is no business impact that this project will create," he said.
One city official acknowledged that the company desires to move along quickly through the permitting process, but cautioned that the city will take its time to do everything in the correct manner.
City manager Arnold Shadbehr suggested the next meeting, August 22, represents a "hopeful target date" for approval.