The Boring Company’s Las Vegas Loop tunnel project is coming to life

The Boring Company's TBM cutter head and mixing chamber arrive at the Las Vegas dig site.

The Boring Company’s upcoming Loop project at the Las Vegas Convention Center appears to be coming to life, with the first images of the startup’s dig site emerging online. Images that have emerged of the startup’s activities reveal that The Boring Company has started shipping parts of a tunnel boring machine to Las Vegas, with a TBM cutter head and mixing chamber recently arriving at the location. 

Initial pictures of The Boring Company’s activities were shared on Twitter last week, courtesy of @JamesInLasVegas. The photos depicted heavy machinery surrounding the tunneling startup’s dig site, including several cranes and what appeared to be a pile driver. An image of a tunnel boring machine’s cutter head was also posted. 

A source familiar with the Boring Company’s current activities for the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop project recently informed Teslarati that the startup’s activities have started ramping over the past few weeks. The source, who has asked to remain anonymous, added that The Boring Company has been granted a pit permit, and thus, the startup has started the construction of a secant wall for the Loop system’s passenger station located on the east end of the LVCC’s South Hall. 

Similar to the initial Twitter posts that emerged of the ongoing project, the source also mentioned that parts of a tunnel boring machine started arriving Thursday night. First was what appeared to be a brand new cutter head, followed by a mixing chamber. Both these TBM parts were dropped off at a location that was visible from Desert Inn Blvd. 

The Boring Company’s tunnel boring machine segments arrive at the Las Vegas site.

Interestingly, the secant wall is reportedly progressing quickly, and once this is done, excavation will soon follow. Overall, the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop appears to be progressing well, though hitting Elon Musk’s goal of completing the Loop system by the end of 2019 will likely remain a challenging task. But if the company’s digging technology is up for the challenge, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO’s timetable will likely prove feasible. 

Much of the details about The Boring Company’s tunneling plans for the Las Vegas Loop system are yet to be announced. Perhaps the biggest question right now is if the startup will be deploying its next-generation TBM for the project. The Boring Company’s Hawthorne test tunnel was built using Godot, a conventional tunnel boring machine. Elon Musk has since announced that the startup is working on two new machines, a hybrid TBM named Line-Storm, which is capable of digging around twice as fast as Godot, and Prufrock, an all-electric TBM that can dig around 10-15 times faster than a conventional tunneling machine, with very little noise and zero emissions. 

The Boring Company works on a tunnel boring machine.
The Boring Company works on a tunnel boring machine.
The Boring Company works on a tunnel boring machine.

The Boring Company works on a tunnel boring machine.

Images of what appeared to be a new TBM being assembled at the tunneling startup’s lot in the vicinity of the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne have been captured a few months ago. With this in mind, there seems to be a good chance that The Boring Company’s Las Vegas project could utilize one of the startup’s newer machines. Perhaps The Boring Company will play it safe and deploy Godot, which has already been tried and tested at Hawthorne, or perhaps the startup could utilize Line-Storm or Prufrock to complete the project faster.

Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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