Elon Musk celebrates Boring Company’s big breakthrough at end of test tunnel

Alan Boyle
A worker knocks dirt off the Boring Company’s tunneling machine after its emergence into a vertical shaft. (Elon Musk via Twitter)

The Boring Company’s “cutting-edge technology” got a shout-out from billionaire founder Elon Musk tonight after the venture’s tunneling machine, nicknamed Godot, broke through into a vertical exit shaft in Hawthorne, Calif.

“Congratulations … on completing the LA/Hawthorne tunnel!” Musk wrote in a tweet.

The breakthrough apparently finishes up the heavy-duty boring job for a test tunnel that connects a parking lot next to SpaceX’s headquarters to another piece of property purchased by the Boring Company.

Musk mandated the project to demonstrate a low-cost, small-bore approach to urban tunnelling. The first mile-long section of the Hawthorne Test Tunnel — including a spur line to the exit shaft, known as O’Leary Station — is scheduled to open for invitation-only tours starting on Dec. 10.

The Boring Company received permits from city officials in Hawthorne, a Los Angeles suburb, to do the digging and set up a system that could transport cars and people on electric-powered skates. To avoid adding to traffic congestion, any cars passing through the system would have to be raised out of the tunnel on an elevator (known as a “Loop Lift”) that’s connected to a residential-style house garage — and head back to SpaceX the same way.

“The purpose is to demonstrate that a lift can be built in very small footprints and within existing buildings, whether they are houses, office buildings, or retail parking lots,” the Boring Company says in its FAQ for the test tunnel. “Looking forward, one could have a lift in the basement of every office building, allowing extremely convenient commutes.”

In addition to the test tunnel, the Boring Company has a variety of more practical tunneling projects on its agenda, including underground Loops that would connect downtown Chicago and O’Hare International Airport; connect Baltimore and Washington, D.C.; and run from a yet-to-be-determined Los Angeles neighborhood to Dodger Stadium.

The nice thing about tonight’s breakthrough is that the tunneling machine can now be lifted out of its hole for the Boring Company’s next job. There’s no longer any need to be waiting for Godot.

Here’s a selection of Musk’s tweets about the Boring Company’s breakthrough:

Update for 2:15 p.m. PT Nov. 29: Musk tweeted out a time-lapse view of the breakthrough:


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