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Elon Musk To Unveil Hawthorne Underground Tunnel

HAWTHORNE (CBSLA) – Elon Musk is set to unveil his much anticipated underground test tunnel in Hawthorne Tuesday night, which Tesla's CEO hopes will be the first of many designed to help alleviate traffic issues in Los Angeles.

The two-mile prototype tunnel, which stretches out from SpaceX headquarters, was designed and built by Musk's Boring Company, which he launched in December 2016. Last month, Musk posted a time-lapse video of himself walking the length of the tunnel.

elon musk tunnel
Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk gives a preview of his underground test tunnel in Hawthorne, Calif., which would be used to help alleviate traffic in Los Angeles. Nov. 5, 2018. (Twitter)

Under Musk's plan, platforms would carry pods or cars down to an underground series of passages. The platforms would act as electric sleds, transporting cars or pods across the city at speeds of more than 120 miles an hour.

The tunnel starts at Crenshaw Boulevard and 120th Street, and stretches west for about two miles under 120th Street. The tunnel also features a car-lowering depot dubbed O'Leary Station in memory of a former SpaceX engineer who died earlier this year.

The unveiling, set for 8 p.m., is expected to be webcast on the Boring Company website. The unveiling was initially scheduled for Dec. 10, but was pushed back a week.

According to a tweet from the Boring Company, Tuesday's event will be "more than a tunnel opening. Will include modded (modified) but fully road legal autonomous transport cars & ground to tunnel car elevators."

In typical Musk fashion, the unveiling will include some whimsy.

Boring has been building a medieval tower at SpaceX's property. Musk wrote on his Twitter page in September that the structure was the first Boring headquarters building, being built with Boring Bricks, made with dirt excavated in the tunneling work -- "in the shape of a medieval watchtower."

In a tip-of-the-hat to the 1970s film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," Musk wrote that he would be hiring a knight to yell at people from the tower in a French accent, mirroring a scene in the movie featuring John Cleese as an insult-hurling French knight.

Boring posted a photos and a video of people dressed as medieval knights, calling the scene a "Boring Company Job Faire."

This week, Musk referred to the tower as "Medieval Futurism."

Musk has said he hopes to eventually build a system that stretches all around the county.

In August of 2017, the Hawthorne City Council gave The Boring Company approval to construct the test tunnel. If the Hawthorne tunnel is successful, Musk is hoping to follow it up with a bigger tunnel system that would run as far south as Long Beach, as far north as Sherman Oaks, east to Dodger Stadium and west to Santa Monica.

In August, Musk proposed constructing a tunnel which would run from Dodger Stadium to Hollywood. Billed as the "Dugout Loop," the 3.6 mile all-electric underground tunnel would run from Dodger Stadium to property owned by the Boring Company near the Vermont/Sunset, Vermont/Santa Monica or Vermont/Beverly Metro Red Line stations.

The Dugout Loop would consist of "autonomous electric skates" propelled by multiple electric motors carrying eight to 16 people. The skates will travel at 125 to 150 miles per hour for a trip that will take less than four minutes and cost around $1, according to the company. It would be able to transport an estimated 1,400 people in total per event.

In late November, the Boring Company canceled plans to build a tunnel under the 405 Freeway on the L.A. Westside. The decision was part of a settlement with two community groups who sued the Boring Company and the city of L.A., alleging that the city had exempted the project from proper environmental reviews.

Musk has reiterated that the tunnels will be entirely privately financed and not require any tax money.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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