The Boring Company founder Elon Musk has said it would cost $1bn (£557M) to bore a tunnel through the Blue Mountains in Australia.
In a twitter exchange, Musk was asked by New South Wales politician Jeremy Buckingham how much the project would cost in the UNESCO listed World Heritage site.
Buckingham tweeted: “I’m a lawmaker in Sydney, which is choking with traffic. How much to build a 50km tunnel through the Blue Mountains and open up the west of our state?”
Musk replied: “About $15M/km for a two way high speed transit, so probably around $750M plus maybe $50M/station.”
It is unclear whether Musk is quoting in Australian dollars or US dollars.
Buckingham responded to Musk with: “Thanks mate. Sounds like a bargain. Could be a game changer to go under the Blue Mountains with a modern link between Sydney and the west. I’ll raise it with the Premier @GladysB other colleagues, the community, and get back to you.”
blue mountain elon musk tunnel
Since the exchange Transport for NSW has questioned the cost of Musk’s tunnel, saying that it would likely to cost around three times as much.
A spokesperson said: “A high-level analysis of costings reveal that Mr Musk’s project could not be delivered for his proposed price.
“Key issues that do not appear to be considered in Mr Musk’s proposed tunnel (which have been factored into our cost estimates) include ventilation and emergency egress.
“Other key issues include geotechnical conditions and integration with the wider transport network (given this appears to be a fully independent / bespoke transport mode).”
In December, The Boring Company unveiled its 4.3km, 3.65m diameter test tunnel in Hawthorne, LA. The tunnel has an entrance on private land and is bored between 9.4m to 21m below ground. In a change to Musk’s original plans, the cars would be lowered into the tunnel by lifts and then slotted into tracks, instead of a system that could transport up to 16 people at a time in electric-powered pods or “skates”.