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High-Speed Transit Tunnels to O'Hare Airport Could Begin Construction Within Months

The 16-mile route itself from downtown Chicago is still being negotiated. Passengers will be transported in what Elon Musk's Boring Company calls an "electric skate" at speeds up to 150 mph for the 12-minute trip.
July 23, 2018, 6am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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O'Hare Blue Line

Last month, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel selected Musk's company to build the Chicago Express Loop to transport passengers from the downtown Block 37 'superstation' to O'Hare. User fees and ad revenue, rather than city funds, will pay for the $1 billion project, according to Musk and the mayor's office.

"A final route for two high-speed tunnels is still being negotiated between [Hawthorne, Calif.-based] The Boring Co. and Chicago," reports ENR Midwest editor Jeff Yoders on July 19.

City officials declined to say where it might run but a northwest route, crossing under interstates 90 and 94, over the distance from Block 37 to O’Hare makes the most sense.

Musk cited the ability to negotiate directly with city hall as a reason that the project was so attractive to The Boring Co. and why he believes permitting and construction can be expedited so quickly.

The Loop's battery-powered transit vehicle is an "eight-wheeled 'skate' car built on a modified Tesla Model X chassis," writes Yoders. "Each car, which has horizontal and vertical wheels, is set to carry up to 16 passengers and luggage."

It is not to be confused with its faster sibling, the hyperloop, "which involves a system composed of a vacuum and magnets to propel vehicle pods through a tube," as proposed by Culver City, Calif.-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies for the 30-minute trip from Chicago to Cleveland, reported Mary Wisniewski for the Chicago Tribune on April 23.


Los Angeles-based Virgin Hyperloop One (formerly called Hyperloop One), not the aforementioned hyperloop company, hopes to build a hyperloop for passengers and freight connecting Pittsburgh to Chicago and a 360-mile system in Colorado. 

Just to clarify: These are three different 'loop companies' with three different CEOs featuring two different technologies, all derived from Elon Musk, who is now the CEO of The Boring Company.

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Published on Thursday, July 19, 2018 in Engineering News-Record
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