Chicago’s downtown area is notably difficult to get to from the airport. O’Hare International is extremely busy, and traffic back and forth from there to Downtown Chicago is a nightmare any time of day. Obviously fed up with the gridlock, the Chicago city government has selected The Boring Company to build a tunnel from O’Hare to Block 37. Locals know downtown’s Block 37 as the Loop.
A Huge Win for the Boring Company
Until this point, the Boring Company’s biggest claims to fame were the concept tunnels underneath LA and Elon Musk owning it. This tunnel, if successful, could work as a template for future projects like it in other cities. Musk’s concept of a multilayered, car-centric network still seems rather far-off. A more grounded approach like this tunnel, however, seems to be a great starting point.
How the Company Was Chosen
Chicago had an open period of “Requests for Qualification,” and Boring passed through two rounds of such requests. Chicago maintained that the tunnel project was to not cost tax payers any money, for one thing. Another request was that it be capable of conveying passengers from the Loop to O’Hare in less than 20 minutes. Finally, Chicago requested that a ride on one of the tunnel cars cost less than a comparable taxi ride. It seems that Musk’s company fit all criteria, as Chicago has decided to go ahead with them.
A Few Details
The company has stated that the tunnel cars will travel between 125-150 MPH, meaning they can take passengers downtown in about 12 minutes. That’s a huge step up from the normal time to commute via car. It was also reported that cars would leave from both stations once about every 30 seconds, meaning you’re never waiting to board a car. While the exact costs and length of the construction are still to be negotiated, it seems Chicago is eager to have the project underway.
The most difficult part of these projects isn’t the actual work of moving earth and constructing tunnels. The hardest part is getting through all the regulations and safety protocols that come with digging beneath a city. The Boring Company likely wants to it can complete this project with speed and for a reasonable cost. If it can do that, and the tunnel is safe, they will have made quite the name for themselves. However, if the project is a bust, it might spell disaster for the company and Chicago’s plans.