Dig it: Elon Musk’s Boring Co. gets tapped for Chicago project

Dig it: Elon Musk’s Boring Co. gets tapped for Chicago project

Dig it: Elon Musk’s Boring Co. gets tapped for Chicago project

Dubbed The Chicago Express Loop, the project would include The Boring Company completing the Block 37 superstation, and digging twin tunnels to O'Hare.

Elon Musk's Boring Co. got the green light to work on a project connecting downtown Chicago to O'Hare International Airport, its first major city contract. The Boring Company released Wednesday renderings of what the underground system and rail cars would look like.

Chicago was at least the third city to enter negotiations with company founded by Elon Musk to build subterranean transit.

The $250 million station beneath Block 37 was first envisioned as the hub of an express train system linking downtown to both O'Hare and Midway airports, but was abandoned in 2011 while only half-finished, after running well over budget.

Musk's 18-month-old company beat out a bid from O'Hare Xpress LLC, a consortium that included the Mott MacDonald engineering firm and JLC Infrastructure, a venture backed by former basketball star Magic Johnson. A lengthy write-up in The Chicago Tribune says that the total cost of the project could be around $1 billion, according to unnamed sources with knowledge on the matter.

"One of the hardest thing to do with any new technology is.to show people that it can indeed be useful".

The system will be comprised of 16-passenger vehicles that will travel up to 150 miles (240 km) per hour through a tunnel that will cut the current 30 to 45-minute trip between the airport and Chicago's business district down to 12 minutes, according to Boring's website.

Rivkin said the estimated fare will be $20 to $25 per ride, which is significantly less than a taxi ride to or from the airport.

The Chicago Express Loop would be "100 percent privately funded", the Boring Company says. It has raised only a fraction of that amount to date.

How much will this all cost? It would whisk travelers to O'Hare on electric skates, powered by technology used in Tesla Model X vehicles.

"The risk - with no financial risk - is I'm betting on a guy who has proven in space, auto and now a tunnel, that he can innovate and create something of the future", said Emanuel. Thus far, the company has received a permit to dig up a parking lot in Washington, DC, and it has received permission from the state of Maryland to build a 10-mile tunnel "beneath a state-owned portion of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway".

The bottom line: While nothing is finalized yet, this isn't shaping up to be the "hyper" loop featuring pods traveling at speeds surpassing that of a jumbo jet. But Musk hinted at his eventual goal of combining the two systems.

Musk hasn't given up on his original vision for an ultra-high-speed transport system.

Others are also working on the idea.

Musk and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel are expected to announce the proposal on Thursday in Chicago, the Tribune reported.

Related news