Updated April 3, 2023 - 7:31 pm
Although The Boring Co. has yet to begin digging any portion of the planned Vegas Loop, the Elon Musk-owned company is looking to expand the system of underground tunnels.
What was originally presented as a 29-mile tunnel network with 51 planned stations when the Clark County Commission approved it in 2021, has now grown to add several more miles of tunnels to the system, with 69 planned stations.
Newly added areas to the project’s plan include downtown area stops including the Arts District; Medical District, where the UNLV School of Medicine is located; the World Market Center; Symphony Park at the Smith Center; and the Las Vegas Premium Outlet Mall.
Outside of the downtown area new stops include Palace Station, Area 15, Chinatown, Town Square shopping mall, and off Las Vegas Boulevard and Blue Diamond Road, where the planned $3 billion Oak View Group arena/hotel project is slated to be constructed.
Like the already-operational Convention Center Loop at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Vegas Loop would be a point-to-point system, transporting passengers via various Tesla model vehicles.
The added locations, which still must be approved by the city of Las Vegas and Clark County, came about by various means, according to Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
“They (Boring officials) see the opportunity and I think they see the need,” Hill said. “It provides better access and access to different places. … Folks reached out to them and said they wanted to be included in that as well. So, where that makes sense, The Boring Company is willing to make that happen.”
‘A lot of advantages’
Now the system is planned to be much larger, even including some neighboring streets just outside of the Resort Corridor and downtown areas.
Not only would the expanded plans offer access to additional destinations, but they also would give Boring more options when maintenance needs arise, Hill said.
“It also provides redundancy,” Hill said. “Sooner or later we’re going to become somewhat reliant on this form of transportation in Las Vegas. If you need to do maintenance work in a tunnel, you need the ability to continue to use the system and not just shut it down because there’s something going on in one spot. It provides a lot of advantages and The Boring Company is willing to do it under the same terms, we’re excited about that.”
The more the system branches outside of the tourism corridor, the more locals will benefit from it, Naft added.
“It brings it closer to the people who actually live in the community and make it more of a viable transportation option for them.”
There is still no timeline to when actual digging on the Vegas Loop will begin, both Hill and Naft noted.
‘The more connectivity the better’
The latest Boring-related work in Las Vegas is the Westgate offshoot from the Convention Center Loop. That loop transports riders between three exhibit halls at the convention center.
Digging is underway on that portion of the project that will be the second resort to link to the convention center system. Resorts World’s tunnel to the convention center opened to business last summer.
A third Convention Center Loop is in the works and will link the Encore into the system.
Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft said that, in the grand scheme of things, the more stations added to the project the better.
“As far as Boring goes, like any transportation amenity, the more connectivity the better,” Naft said. “In particular, as we see more major high-end projects come to the south end of the Strip, my district, I think it’s really important for them to be part of the network.”