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LVCVA moving ahead with underground transport system

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March 12, 2019 By Richard N. Velotta

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is going underground.

The organization’s board of directors on Tuesday approved a proposal with Elon Musk’s The Boring Co. to develop a subterranean people-moving transit system costing between $35 million and $55 million for the Las Vegas Convention Center in a 10-3 vote.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, Councilwoman Michele Fiore and Caesars Entertainment Corp. executive Tom Jenkin opposed the motion because they wanted more time to vet the project.

The final cost will be set when engineers determine the routes and the number of stations that would be built.

While the project approved by the board would serve only the Las Vegas Convention Center campus, representatives of The Boring Co. say the system could be expanded to serve other destinations in the community, including downtown Las Vegas, the Strip, the Las Vegas Stadium and McCarran International Airport.

Proposed route options would run from the Convention Center’s Green Lot east of the South Hall to a new parking area west of the West Hall currently under construction, a distance of more than 1¼ miles.

LVCVA President and CEO Steve Hill and Steve Davis, president of The Boring Co., described what’s being called the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop as an autonomous point-to-point on-demand system with vehicles capable of transporting up to 16 people at a time.

The system would use autonomous electric vehicles, or AEVs, on three types of Tesla Model X chassis with rubber tires operated in automatic pilot mode.

Using paired one-way tunnels with a series of on- and off-ramps, the AEVs could be hailed by app for direct service to another station. Conventioneers would access the underground system by elevators, escalators or stairs. Hill said the LVCVA envisions use of the Convention Center Loop to be free to conventioneers.

While the system is capable of speeds of up to 150 mph, the short distance between stations at the Convention Center would keep a vehicle’s speed at a maximum of around 50 mph.

According to LVCVA documents, pre-cast concrete tunnels would be built about 30 feet below grade level with a 12-foot inner diameter and a 13½-foot outer diameter.

During construction, six segments are configured to form one 5-foot tunnel ring so a one-mile segment of tunnel would require 1,056 rings. Segments are reinforced with steel fibers along with monofilament polypropylene for fire resistance and concrete longevity. Packing material and gaskets are adhered to the segments prior to installation to alleviate seismic loads and water and gas intrusion.


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