Elon Musk recently stated that his tunneling startup The Boring Company is capable of building San Francisco’s second Transbay Tube at a fraction of the project’s estimated cost and time.
Conversations on Twitter about San Francisco’s planned tunnels started not long after Musk shared a post referencing China’s progress in infrastructure. The tweet ultimately led to a long conversation among the platform’s users, some of which brought up the issue of the Golden Gate city’s proposed second BART tunnel, which the city is currently planning to build at an estimated budget of $12-15 billion. Posting on the Twitter thread, a user named Paul Rand directly asked the SpaceX and Tesla CEO how much the Boring Company would charge for such a project.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Elon Musk stated that his tunneling startup could build San Francisco’s second Transbay Tube way faster and far cheaper.
“Probably about a tenth of the cost and a fifth of the time.”
As noted in a San Francisco Chronicle report, the Golden Gate city is looking to build another BART tunnel that runs parallel to its existing Transbay Tube, which is 6 miles long (including the approaches from the nearest stations) and at some points 135 feet below sea level. If approved, the second Transbay Tube would be the city’s biggest Bay Area infrastructure project since the first BART system was built over 50 years ago. The second Transbay Tube is estimated to be completed by 2030, making it a 12-year project.
So, that article said the fix would be at $12 Billion+, what could The Boring Company do it for?
— Paul Rand (@Pewwer42) February 27, 2018
In a statement to the Chronicle, Jim Wunderman, CEO of the Bay Area Council, described the scope of the planned project.
“It’s going to be a huge investment. This cross-bay connection and its alignment are going to be very important. Since we’re at the beginning, we need to look at the big picture. We need to make sure we do it in a way that we don’t look back and say we should have done this differently,” he said.
A second Transbay Tube would offer several benefits to residents of San Francisco. For one, it could serve emerging neighborhoods and employment centers that are distant from stations. It could also serve as a backup for the first BART tunnels when the 50-year-old Transbay Tube needs repair. This would be a massive improvement from the current system, which requires a complete shutdown of the entire BART tunnels when emergencies or repairs happen.
As we noted in a previous report, The Boring Company was recently granted an early excavation permit by the local Washington, D.C. government. The approved site, located at Lot 53 New York Avenue, could become the first of many stations in Elon Musk’s planned NY-Phil-Balt-D.C. Hyperloop, a high-speed transport system that transports commuters through tunnels dug by the Boring Company.