Photo Credit: Archinect

Magnificent Metal Monday (MMM) takes us to Las Vegas, the location of METALCON 2020! According to Construction Dive, Elon Musk’s tunneling company, The Boring Co.,​ began underground construction on a tunnel for a tram system at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Friday, Nov. 15. Although it won’t be ready until after the show, attendees will be able to get a glimpse of the “future” while at the show. Musk is the founder of Tesla and SpaceX.

The company’s first major underground tunneling project paired it with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). The people mover project is contracted at $52.5 million and scheduled to be completed in January 2021. Aboveground work on stations and stops began last month, after TBC’s boring machine was assembled on site.

A map of the LVCC Loop shows a less-than-one-mile route beneath the Convention Center. (Courtesy of the LVCVA)

According to Jackie Dennis, Director of Communications for the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Bureau, “The deal was struck in May of this year, amid plans to expand the convention center footprint, adding 1.4 million square feet to the 2.3 million-square-foot footprint. The expansion, like the people mover loop, will be finished in January 2021.”

TBC claims the loop will be designed to move 4,400 passengers per hour. When completed, the convention center will be about 1.5 miles long, and Dennis says the new tunnel system will allow passengers to travel the full distance, which could take a half an hour to walk, in just a few minutes. Using the tram will be free for patrons of the convention center. “This is the next major attraction for Vegas,” Dennis said. The loop will consist of two 1-mile-long tunnels. 

Back in March of this year, Construction Dive unveiled Elon Musk’s new high tech tunneling machine which is designed to dig continuously versus the 10 minutes per hour that current machines on the market can operate. Other goals for Musk’s TBMs are to be able to add modified cutters, automated segment erection and to triple the machines’ power.

Musk’s new tunnel boring machine (TBM) called the Line-Storm; Photo Credit: Construction Dive