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Elon Musk’s first tunnel under Los Angeles County is scheduled to open to the public in December, according to a tweet from the entrepreneur. But Los Angeles residents shouldn’t expect to zoom across town by tunnel anytime soon.
The anticipated grand opening of The Boring Company’s first tunnel was announced in typical Musk fashion in a string of tweets that offered vague details about what the public can actually expect.
“The first tunnel is almost done,” Musk told his 23.1 million followers, shortly after 5 p.m. local time on Sunday.
He said it would open on Dec. 10, with free rides for the public the following day. When asked if that would be in “real time,” or “Elon time,” a reference to Musk’s penchant for setting timelines and not meeting them, he replied: “I think real.”
When Musk makes any sort of pronouncement on Twitter, it gains massive attention — and if history is any indicator, shouldn’t be taken at face value.
Last month, the Tesla CEO settled fraud charges that were brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission over a tweet that claimed he had “secured funding” to take his company private at a price of $420 per share. As part of the settlement, Musk agreed to step down as chairman of Tesla for three years.
In this case, the tunnel Musk is tweeting about is neither of the tunnels he wants to build — one under the gridlocked Westside, the other from Dodgers Stadium to a transit hub. It’s the test tunnel that has been under construction, starting on SpaceX property in Hawthorne, California.
Musk said the top speed in the test tunnel will be 155 mph. The Boring Company’s first tunnel is being used for research and development and will span up to two miles, according to plans posted online. The company has also been hosting student tours at the site.
While the scheduled tunnel opening is certainly a step forward in Musk’s vision to create an underground transportation network, the reality is that there are still significant hurdles before the plans he has announced actually come to fruition.
In May, the the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it would coordinate with The Boring Company on “proof of concept” for a nearly three-mile long tunnel under Sepulveda Boulevard, one of the most congested areas of Los Angeles.
In August, Musk announced a proposal for a 3.6-mile tunnel that would use self-driving electric skates to carry people between Dodger Stadium and a nearby metro station in under four minutes. The skates would travel as fast as 150 mph, with each one carrying between eight and 16 people at any given time, according to the plans posted online.
That is, once they receive approval. Both plans are expected to face significant reviews, ensuring safety, environmental, and construction concerns are addressed, long before locals will be able to travel by tunnel.
And to think, all of this started out almost as a prank.
Musk has previously said The Boring Company started as a joke and then grew into a hobby company. Earlier this year, during a question-and-answer session at the South by Southwest conference, he said the tunneling venture takes up “2 percent” of his time — and not surprisingly, “20 percent” of his tweets.
The Boring Company did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for an interview.