Expanding Tunnels

You’ve probably seen the cliche, “What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas,” and it still holds true—except in certain cases. For example, if Elon Musk has his way, what is happening in Las Vegas will eventually expand to many other cities. Right now, what he is creating in Las Vegas is expanding from the Convention Center throughout much of the city. That creation is a subway system based on an innovative tunneling method.

Initial steps to expand Elon Musk’s underground tunnel system throughout Las Vegas will soon be underway. The Vegas Loop will represent a first-of-its-kind transportation solution for a tourism destination, offering convenient transportation and reduced congestion throughout the Las Vegas resort corridor.  Musk’s venture, The Boring Company, recently submitted its special use permit application to the City of Las Vegas and intends to file a land use (design review) application in Clark County shortly, the first steps in the process to construct the system across Las Vegas.

Vegas Loop will consist of underground tunnels stretching as far north as downtown Las Vegas, throughout the Strip corridor, and as far south as the Allegiant Stadium, pending approval later this week by the Stadium Authority, the owner of the stadium.

The first commercial underground tunneling project for the company began with the construction of the $52 million Convention Center Loop connecting the existing 3.2 million square foot Las Vegas Convention Center to its $980 million West Hall expansion. The Loop will transport convention attendees across the 200-acre campus in under two minutes in Tesla vehicles. The Convention Center Loop is scheduled for completion in January.

By using AEVs (autonomous electric vehicles), the average diameter of a subway tunnel can be shrunk to less than 14 feet, reducing tunneling costs. Contemporary techniques depend on soft-soil machines tunneling for 50% of the time and erection of tunnel support structures the other 50%. Existing technology can be modified to support continuous tunneling activity and, while smaller diameter tunneling machines are automated, larger ones currently require multiple human operators. By automating the larger machines, both safety and efficiency are increased.

The Boring Company has tunneled an average of 100-ft. per day, twice as fast as standard tunneling machines, in twin tunnels in each direction. The tunnels measure 13.5-ft, outer diameter and 12-ft, inner diameter. Additional tunnel buildout consists of lights throughout the tunnel and installation of electrical, communications, and fire and life safety systems.

The underground transportation system was born out of Musk’s desire to solve the problem of traffic gridlock. As a result, the company is focused on building low-cost, fast-to-build underground transportation systems to alleviate traffic congestion. Building underground has several advantages as tunnels are structurally safe, weatherproof, noise-free and can meet growing capacity by easily adding multiple levels.

Source : https://constructech.com/expanding-tunnels/

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