In 2013, Elon Musk was frustrated by the pace of a now-completed widening project along the 405 freeway in West L.A. and the Sepulveda Pass. He said at the time that he was surprised people weren't staging demonstrations over the traffic and delays caused by the construction.
“It just seems people in Los Angeles are being tortured by this,” he said. “I don't know why they aren't marching in the streets.”
This week the billionaire behind SpaceX and Tesla continued to rant against the freeway that takes him from his Bel-Air home to his Hawthorne headquarters. He's been threatening to build a tunnel to ease his commute. It sounds farfetched, but he's a guy who helps put private rockets in space and has encouraged the development of a hyperloop transportation system, so you never know.
“Exciting progress on the tunnel front,'' he tweeted Wednesday. “Plan to start digging in a month or so.''
Musk previously said on Twitter that, because “traffic is driving me nuts,” he was going to “build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging.” He also said, “I am actually going to do this.” He said the tunnel would exist “across my desk at SpaceX … Crenshaw and the 105 Freeway, which is 5 mins from LAX.”
The remarks appear to be all in good fun, at least so far. Caltrans spokesman Peter Jones says Musk would have to get the state agency's permission to build a tunnel under or even near the freeway system. “For a project of that size, he would have to file permits with us,” he says. “He would have to get with us on that.”
“We do not have any permits,” Jones continues, “nor have we had any meetings regarding this project or concept.”
Since Musk's home is in the city of L.A., we asked a Department of Building and Safety official about it, too. “It made me kind of chuckle a bit,” says David Lara, the department's assistant chief. “We don't have any record of it.”
By the way, Musk is serious about one thing: That five-year, $1.1 billion widening project didn't do much to ease congestion on the 405. It's still a slow ride. Unless you have a secret tunnel.
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