The Boring Co. is working on wider tunnels designed to transport large amounts of freight, Bloomberg reported. The new tunnels would be 21 feet in diameter, compared to the 12-foot-diameter tunnels TBC has built thus far.
To date, the Elon Musk-owned company has focused on building tunnels to transport passengers, although moving freight has been a part of the company’s offered projects.
The new product pitch obtained by Bloomberg indicates three ways of shipping freight containers below ground: two ways for one container and one way for two containers side by side.
The original method of shipping freight through a Boring Co. tunnel is among the options in the company’s new pitch. A standard 40-foot-long shipping container would narrowly fit through the 12-foot diameter tunnels bored by Musk’s company, dragged on flat, battery-powered carriers, which resemble large flat beds like those pulled by trucks.
Another option includes shipping a single container through a 21-foot-diameter tunnel. The same battery-powered carrier would pull the container along the bottom of the tunnel. In those larger tunnels, TBC indicates it can pull two containers on the carriers, with 1 foot of space in between. The side-by-side method would transport the containers at the midpoint of the tunnel — filling in the bottom part of the tube so that freight moves through the widest point — as opposed to the bottom, like the other methods.
Speed and cost have been selling points for TBC since its inception, as its trademark machines tunnel faster than others, the company says, which shortens the overall project and saves money as a result. That could change with wider tunnels.
When the width of the tunnels expand, the cost of drilling also increases, largely due to debris created by the tunneling, Tom Groark, executive director of the Moles, a heavy construction trade organization, told Bloomberg. Expanding to 21 feet rather than custom widths could keep costs from getting out of hand, Groark said.
After completing the $52.5 million Las Vegas Convention Center Loop project — two, 1-mile tunnels bored at the standard 12-foot width — Boring has yet to announce the confirmation of any larger project although it is negotiating with San Bernardino County in California about a 4-mile loop connecting a light rail station with Ontario International Airport.
Construct America Magazine | The Home of Construction