Amid much anticipation, the world’s first working-concept transportation tunnel debuted in Hawthorne this past December with dignitaries in attendance, not just from California, but the world. “This revolutionary transportation system holds so much promise,” said Councilmember Haidar Awad, “and now Hathorne can be listed alongside other cities notable for first-of-their-kind demonstrations like Kitty Hawk.”
The demonstration tunnel begun in 2017 across from SpaceX reached completion by June 2019 with a terminus at Prairie and 120th Street. Of course, the test vehicle is a Tesla. It runs on a “skate” along the one-mile route under Crenshaw Boulevard that turns westward under 120th Street. Before the opening, but once the test tunnel’s digging had completed, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority approved a contract to design and construct a “loop” system for the Las Vegas Convention Center that will shuttle visitors around the Center. Completion is expected by 2021. Future expansion is expected to connect the Strip, Allegiant Stadium, and McCarran International Airport.
Councilmember Awad was invaluable to the process of bringing the Boring Company to Las Vegas. “I spoke with council members from Las Vegas about our experience here in Hawthorne,” said Awad. “They had great questions and obviously saw the same value as we did in Hawthorne. I was happy to lend my support to the project.”
Joining Councilmember Awad at the tunnel opening were two Los Angeles City Council members—Paul Koretz from the fifth district which includes Fairfax, Hollywood, Century City, Westwood and Encino and Joe Buscaino from the fifteenth district encompassing the harbor area. “I’m proud to show my good friends from LA what we’ve been doing in Hawthorne,” said Councilmember Awad. “SpaceX builds it’s Falcon 9 rockets and Dragon capsules here in Hawthorne and now we have the first tunnel. We can afford to generously share a little with the City of Los Angeles,” joked Councilmember Haidar Awad. Awad was hinting to the deal between SpaceX and Los Angeles to create an engineering, manufacturing and research & development facility on Terminal Island that became final late January 2020.
SpaceX is the world’s fast-growing private space launch company. They’re now boldly venturing into manned exploration and heading to Mars with the Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket known collectively as “Starship.” SpaceX will maintain their headquarters in Hawthorne, but to create “Starship,” they needed to expand. LA Councilmember Joe Buscaino, in whose district the facility will be located, said “it’s crazy that here we are in 2020, preparing ourselves to send people to Mars and it’s going to happen in our own backyard.”
What’s So Special About This Brick Store?
An underlying philosophy to every project created by Elon Musk, the entrepreneur of SpaceX and Tesla, is to be environmentally responsible and limit waste. His Boring Company is no exception.
The Boring Company is opening a retail brick store in Hawthorne to sell bricks made from the dirt excavated from the world’s first commuter tunnel or rather test tunnel that demonstrated the concept’s feasibility.
The “Brick Store” will sell bricks for construction and landscaping with sales theoretically helping to offset the cost of drilling the tunnels, making such projects more cost effective.
Musk was quoted saying that the bricks will retail for 10 cents each, far below similar products. Hawthorne’s planning commission has given its approval for the “Brick Store” to open on the corner of Prairie Avenue and 120th Street in what was once a cabinet store.
“Innovation is now associated with Hawthorne,” said Councilmember Hadiar Awad who attended the grand opening of the tunnel in December. “I’m already in discussion with our city and local businesses on how we can demonstrate the use of these inexpensive bricks to both beautify Hawthorne and save significant money,” he added.
Last year you may have caught a glimpse of Elon Musk’s 50-foot “watchtower” across the street from SpaceX and at the entrance of the Boring tunnel. It’s no longer there, but it was constructed from the very bricks that will now be sold at the new store.
The Boring Company’s tunnel concept is to reduce traffic on highways and streets with a network of tunnels deep below the ground, shuttling vehicles at up to 160 miles per hour.
Photos provided to the Hawthorne Planning Commission