Hawthorne approves Elon Musk's proposal to dig test tunnel under city streets

Hawthorne leaders have given a green light to Elon Musk's proposal to dig a test tunnel for electric cars underneath the city extending from the headquarters of his company SpaceX.

The Hawthorne City Council approved the tunnel Tuesday evening with a 4-1 vote, clearing the way for the tech tycoon also behind Tesla and SolarCity to begin work on what he has touted as a way to improve traffic and transportation, the Daily Breeze reported.

Musk, through his new company, The Boring Co., has said he hopes to eventually get permission to dig a tunnel underneath Los Angeles that would end at Los Angeles International Airport, which is just across the 405/105 Freeway interchange from Hawthorne.

The company already has built a shaft and a 160-foot-long tunnel entrance in SpaceX's old parking lot, across the street from its 1 Rocket Road headquarters.

There is no motion or current legislation under consideration by the Los Angeles City Council about any tunnels from Musk, although he said on Twitter in June that he had "promising conversations'' with Mayor Eric Garcetti about building a tunnel network underneath the city. He added that getting permits would be "harder than technology.''

The boring machine that will be used to dig the tunnel will not be seen or heard above ground in Hawthorne while the work is being done, according to the Breeze.

"You don't see it, don't hear it, and certainly don't feel it,'' said Brett Horton, SpaceX's senior director of facilities and construction, who also oversees The Boring Co.

The paper also reported that the company will "aggressively monitor'' the impact of the tunnel for safety.

Hawthorne Councilman Nilo Michelin, who voted against the tunnel, and Mayor Alex Vargas did not immediately respond to a request to comment on how the city might be involved in monitoring the safety of the tunnel digging.

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