Featured Image Source: Tesmanian.com / photographer: @JaneidyEve via Twitter
Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and CEO at Tesla, has demonstrated his companies can develop innovative transportation systems for Earth and outer space. Musk founded The Boring Company with the goal “to solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic” by building an underground network of high-speed transportation tunnel roads under cities where autonomous Tesla vehicles can shuttle passengers. This zero-emission, electric transportation system is called ‘Loop’, capable of transporting passengers to point-to-point destinations at around 150-miles per hour. The first real-world tunnel network is active under Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC). The video linked below, shows how The Boring Company tunnel Loop in Las Vegas operates.
The Boring Company representatives met with South Texas Cameron County administrator Pete Sepulveda Jr. and county engineer Benjamin Worsham to discuss the possibility of digging a tunnel that connects South Padre Island, TX, to SpaceX’s Starbase facility at Boca Chica Beach, TX. Sepulveda told The Brownsville Herald, a local newspaper, that The Boring Company introduced the concept through a presentation that said the tunnel would enable SpaceX employees who live at (or near) South Padre Island to drive down to the Starship launch site without intervening with public access to Highway 4, which is the only road that connects the City of Brownsville to Starbase/Boca Chica Beach.
Locally Highway 4 road is known as ‘Boca Chica Blvd’; It is often closed temporarily during SpaceX spaceflight activities related to the company’s Starship spacecraft development. Long-term, Musk plans to transform the Boca Chica region into a spaceport for missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. “From what we understand from SpaceX, is there is a good portion of the beach that can remain open if there was access to it, even though the road is closed and even though a portion of the beach is closed,” Sepulveda said. SpaceX is currently preparing to conduct its first orbital Starship flight test. The company will continue to close Highway 4 to ensure public safety during the upcoming pre-flight testing.
Completing a two-mile long tunnel in Las Vegas LVCC cost the company approximately $52 million, so that price tag is quite high for the county. Sepulveda said that the county is willing to work with SpaceX and The Boring Company if they cover all the costs. “(Paying for it) is not something that the county would be interested in. That would be prohibitive for us. We really didn’t get into those details, but once we do we wouldn’t be able to participate with any type of funding,” he stated. “I think we’re willing to work with SpaceX just to look at what options, solutions, are out there,” Sepulveda told The Brownsville Herald reporters. “I’m not sure what amount, if any, we can bring to the table financially.”
Sepulveda also told reporters that another potential solution is to build another road above the surface that leads to Boca Chica to allow public access to the beach when SpaceX closes the road during space operations. “Understand the sensitivity of the environment in that area,” he said, in reference to the fact the Boca Chica region is a U.S. Wildlife Refuge. “Perhaps doing a tunnel is one way to impact the environment a lot less than doing a surface-level road or bridge. … Again, the whole gist of it is what are our options to provide access to the north end of Boca Chica Beach.”
VIDEO: How The Boring Company Tunnel Loop In Las Vegas Operates
All Images Source: Tesmanian.com / photographer: @JaneidyEve via Twitter
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.