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Californian city approves Elon Musk test tunnel

The US city of Hawthorne has approved a planning application for construction of a test tunnel at Elon Musk’s Space X headquarters in California.

The 3.2km test track will be used for testing electric vehicles but its construction will also provide data for Musk’s recently announced tunnel boring machine (TBM) innovation plans.

Musk’s Boring Company will use a secondhand TBM that was previously used on a sewer project in San Francisco to construct the tunnel using conventional techniques to LA metro specifications. Musk’s company has said that it is working with a major consultancy on the design but that the project will be used for Boring Company developments in TBM design and uses for tunnelling spoil.

Musk’s aims to reduce tunnelling costs by a factor of 10 have been criticised by tunnelling and geotechnical specialists who believe he is simplifying the challenges faced by tunnelling projects.


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