IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Elon Musk's L.A. freeway tunnel won't see the light of day

The Westside tunnel was the result of Musk's Twitter rants about his 17-mile commute along the 405.

Elon Musk's Boring Company announced Tuesday that it has pulled the plug on a project that appeared to be nothing more than a subterranean pipe dream.

The company announced Tuesday that it was withdrawing plans, unveiled in 2017, for a high-tech transportation tunnel below the 405 freeway along Los Angeles' Westside. In a statement the Boring Company claimed the withdrawal was the result of a settlement with community groups. Those groups sued Los Angeles over its plan to exempt the project from environmental review requirements.


"The parties (The Boring Company, Brentwood Residents Coalition, Sunset Coalition, and Wendy-Sue Rosen) have amicably settled the matter of Brentwood Residents Coalition et al. v. City of Los Angeles (TBC -- The Boring Company)," a statement sent by a Boring spokesman said. "The Boring Company is no longer seeking the development of the Sepulveda test tunnel and instead seeks to construct an operational tunnel at Dodger Stadium."

Elon Musk listens as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel talks about constructing a high speed transit tunnel at Block 37 during a news conference on June 14, 2018 in Chicago.Joshua Lott / Getty Images file

That Boring proposal is called the Dugout Loop High Speed Transportation Project. It would ferry game day fans from the subway lines of Vermont Avenue to the ballpark three miles away via "a fleet of autonomous all-electric modified Tesla Model X platforms" from Musk's automaker, Tesla, according to a city summary.

It has the support of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. NBC News reached out to the mayor's office for its response to Boring Company's withdrawal of its Westside plans but was unable to get an immediate response.

The Westside tunnel was the result of Musk's Twitter rants about his 17-mile commute along the 405 from gilded Bel Air to industrial Hawthorne, where the Boring Company and his rocket-building concern, SpaceX, are headquartered.

Video posted by the Boring Company in 2017 demonstrated a concept by which vehicles would descend into tunnels and then move along pathways that loosely resemble luge tracks.

But Musk's plans appeared to outrun reality.

On Twitter the billionaire said in October that the first leg of his project under the city of Hawthorne, technically a test tunnel, would be open to the public by Dec. 10 and offer free rides to all comers the next day.

While Musk first touted his tunnel as the beginnings of a system to bypass the 405 freeway, one of the nation's busiest, Hawthorne city documents in 2017 showed that local leaders had only approved a pedestrian tunnel from SpaceX's One Rocket Road office to its employee parking garage across the street.

City officials later approved an extended test tunnel, but it was never clear if Musk's idea of using Tesla platforms as "electric skates" was ever successfully demonstrated.

The rapid-transit tunnel constructed by Elon Musk's Boring Company that runs under Los Angeles, is seen in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media on November 3, 2018.Reuters file

The state Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) said in early 2017 the the proposal had not received its approval.

And although the Boring Company initially described its first-leg work as "a 2-mile subterranean tunnel extending from the SpaceX property to the intersection of 120th Street and Hawthorne Boulevard," state officials eventually approved 950 feet worth of tunneling, less than one-fifth of a mile.

A Cal/OSHA official said last year that the project would also still need "encroachment permits" from the city, county and state if the tunnel runs under public property.