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When will The Boring Company tunnel faster than a snail?

The Boring Company is a company that constructs and operates tunnel boring machines (TBMs), with the aim of substantially improving the speed and cost of tunnel boring. The tunnels are initially being proposed for use in train-like transport between fixed stops, but The Boring Company's stated long-term goal is to establish a vast tunnel network similar to current road networks. It was established in 2016 by Elon Musk and SpaceX employees, after Musk became frustrated at Los Angeles traffic.

Apparently, typical TBMs can tunnel through the earth at a sustained rate of 60 feet (18 m) per day. Recently, The Boring Company completed its second tunnel in Las Vegas. As the second 0.8-mile tunnel was supposedly started after the first one was finished on February 14th, the second tunnel was dug was roughly 47 feet (14 m) per day, including time spent on e.g. constructing the stations at each end. This is comparable to other modern machines, but still far from their goal of tunneling as fast as a snail; in 2008, the world championship snail racer moved at a rate of ~0.0016 m/s or 140 m/day, about ten times faster.

The Boring Company has a number of ideas to improve tunneling speed, including nonstop tunneling (putting in supports while the machine is still boring), increased power, reduced tunnel diameter, etc. It started with an off-the-shelf TBM named Godot and has developed or is developing improved TBMs named Line-storm and Prufrock; it is not clear which was used to bore the Las Vegas tunnel.

When will The Boring Company dig a tunnel at a rate of 140 meters per day?

  • This question may resolve if The Boring Company or its representative issues a statement that one of its TBMs is currently tunneling, or has tunneled, at a rate of at least 140 meters per day (even momentarily, e.g. 6 m in one hour).
  • This question may also resolve if some tunnel, at least 1 km long, is completed at a rate of at least 140 meters per day, from the moment that the TBM starts boring the earth at the entrance, to when it breaks through the exit.
  • This must be accomplished by one TBM, not e.g. 10 TBMs all tunneling at 14 m/day.
  • If neither of the first two conditions is satisfied by the end date, this question resolves as the upper bound.


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