The president and CEO of the main Las Vegas tourism agency thinks opponents must stop questioning the viability of an underground “movement of people” transportation loop under the campus of the convention center of the city.
“There has been a lot of undeserved skepticism around this project,” Hill said Friday afternoon as he addressed members of the media at one of the loop’s three passenger stations. “It’s innovative, but the technology associated with it doesn’t really change the game. It’s a tunnel, which we’ve been building for a long time, and it’s a causeway. These things are not technically difficult.
On Thursday and Friday, members of the local and national media got some of the first views of the completed $ 52.5 million double tunnel system, which includes three passenger stations.
It will be open and available free to attendees of the World of Concrete show at the Convention Center in June.
The construction show will be the first major convention in Las Vegas since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.
Users of the system will be transported through the tunnels – each stretching just under one mile – in Tesla Model 3 and Model X electric vehicles, which reach speeds of up to 40 mph.
The tunnels were built by the Boring Company, a company owned by billionaire Elon Musk.
The vehicles will be operated by Boring Company employees, but the company plans to eventually use only self-driving Tesla cars.
Observers were able to board vehicles from the south hall of the convention center campus to the west hall expansion area. A third disembarkation point, the central station, is located underground near the main entrance to the Palais des Congrès next to its central hall.
“This is a world first,” said Lori Nelson-Kraft, spokesperson for LVCVA. “We thank the Boring Company for letting Vegas be the first, and for their tenacity, their vision and their ability to get things done.”
The system – digging began in late 2019 – represents the first commercial project for Musk’s Boring Company, although several proposals to expand the system around the Las Vegas resort corridor are on the table.
“It’s a big enough day for us, and a big enough day for Las Vegas,” Hill said. “A little less than three years ago, someone I knew from Tesla called me and said he was looking for the right places to prepare tunnels for the Boring Company. At that time, they were watching LA, DC, and Chicago. I told them I thought it made a lot of sense in Las Vegas and Nevada could go faster than these other places. “
Inside the twin tunnels, which are illuminated and change colors, as one would expect in Las Vegas, there is just enough room for one vehicle. Authority officials said there were no plans to sell advertising space inside the tunnels.
When fully operational, the system is designed to transport up to 4,400 people per hour in more than 60 cars under the 200-acre campus, authority officials said.
On Friday, 11 cars were driving to show spectators the system.
The central station is the only one of the three passenger stations, approximately 2,400 feet apart, to be underground.
To get to the central station, users would take an elevator or escalator 40 feet below the surface.
“We think this is going to be an attraction in Las Vegas for a while, besides just being a transportation system,” Hill said.
While Hill said the Boring Company still plans to use only autonomous Tesla vehicles at one point, he said it made more sense to have human drivers to open the system.
“No one has known about this system,” Hill said. “Starting without pilots would add a layer of worry that we didn’t want to have. We will work towards self-reliance, and it will certainly happen. People should stop saying what we say won’t happen because it will be proven wrong.