The search for quicker, cheaper ways of tunnelling

How the past saw the future of tunnelling

A BIG hole in the car park at SpaceX’s headquarters in Los Angeles is the first visible evidence of another of Elon Musk’s ventures. Mr Musk who, besides leading SpaceX, a rocket company, also runs Tesla, a maker of electric cars, is going into the tunnelling business. The goal of the Boring Company, as he dubs his new enterprise, is to dig tunnels faster and more cheaply than is possible at the moment.

Apart from the pit in the car park, Mr Musk says he has also begun a series of test tunnels for a project that will, if it comes to fruition, carry cars under Los Angeles on high-speed sledges, in order to avoid the dreadful traffic jams above. More ambitiously, he claims to have official support for a 320km (200-mile) tunnel that would, in half an hour, whisk people between New York and Washington, DC, in magnetically propelled capsules, using a technology he has dubbed the hyperloop.

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