In Brief
The city council of Hawthorne, California, has given the Boring Company permission to extend the test tunnel built under their headquarters by 1.6 miles. However, this permission is just one step of the process, and Elon Musk's company will need to secure additional permits before drilling can commence.

Elon Musk’s vision of a subterranean solution to traffic congestion just moved another step closer to fruition. The city council of Hawthorne, California, has voted four-to-one in favor of allowing the Boring Company to extend the test tunnel they they excavated under their Hawthorne headquarters in June 2017.

The plan is to extend the trench by ~2.5 kilometers (1.6 miles) some 6.7 to 13.4 meters (22 to 44 feet) beneath the city. Godot, the used boring machine the company purchased to drill their tunnels, moves at a speed of 18.2 meters (60 feet) per day, so this phase of the process alone would take an estimated 141 days.

However, the city council vote is just one part of the approval process — the Boring Company still needs to get the proper paperwork in order, including permits from the state departments of transportation and labor.

Image Credit: City of Hawthorne
Image Credit: City of Hawthorne

Still, any progress on the tunnel brings the Boring Company a bit closer to their ultimate goal of implementing an underground hyperloop transportation system. Initially, Musk seemed content to let others pursue the technology he first proposed back in 2012 — which is certainly happening — but over the last several months, he has started to take the hyperloop’s future into his own hands.

Of course, the pace of bureaucracy can make Godot’s tunneling speed seem downright swift, so Los Angeles residents have a wait ahead of them before they’ll be able to dodge inner city traffic using an underground network of tunnels. Hyperloops are a massive departure from current methods of personal transportation, and convincing regulatory bodies to sign off on the technology will no doubt offer up significant challenges.