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Vegas Loop begins boring operations for station near UNLV

Updated April 15, 2024 - 6:42 pm

Elon Musk’s Boring Company broke ground on a new tunnel that will mark the Vegas Loop’s farthest expansion from the Las Vegas Convention Center campus so far.

Boring began on a tunnel that will connect the convention center and a station to be located at 3150 Paradise Road. The site is sandwiched between Paradise and University Center Drive, just across from UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center. The Virgin Hotel also is expected to have a stop on the route.

“So they’re bringing that first tunnel up Paradise that will connect to Virgin Las Vegas up to our Silver Lot,” Steve Hill, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority president and CEO said. “They’ll be launching the second machine soon, that will run in parallel and that will be creating a second tunnel. They’ll have both north and south traffic.”

Outside of the Convention Center Loop, which began moving conventiongoers between three expo halls in 2021, riders will connect to the already-open Resorts World station and the soon-to-open Westgate and Encore stations, Hill said.

There’s a chance that the first of two tunnels will be operational in the next 12 to 18 months, Hill said.

Airport tie-in potential

The new Paradise station will be located just north of Harry Reid International Airport. That could open up the potential for Vegas Loop riders to connect into the airport. Boring Co. purchased the land in January for $7.1 million.

“Go to the airport, drop somebody off, pick somebody up and get back in the system,” Hill said. “At this point it really starts to be a valuable and viable transportation system for everybody that’s connected.”

With the connection to the Virgin Hotel, the Vegas Loop would become a valuable transportation asset during future Las Vegas Grand Prix weekends.

The Formula One building, where the start and finish line of the race is located, is just to the east of the Virgin.

The off-Strip hotel was used as a drop-off point for those who used ride-booking companies such as Uber and Lyft during November’s grand prix race weekend.

“You would be able to park at the Thomas & Mack or fly into the airport and connect there,” Hill said.

Reid airport spokesman Joe Rajchel said in an email that officials continue to have conversations with Boring Co. and that officials “will evaluate all options.”

Outside of race weekends, Virgin stands to benefit from being the first resort to be connected to the Vegas Loop system that isn’t less than a mile away from the convention center.

“They’re going to be connected to the convention center where people can walk right out of their porte-cochere, get in the Boring Company system and be dropped off at any of the halls at the convention center,” Hill said. “That connection is a year-round thing.”

‘Pretty big steps’

The first 2-mile tunnel marks the next step toward full build-out of the Vegas Loop. The Boring Co. plans to have 93 stations and 68 miles of total tunnels. Current plans include stations as far south as Las Vegas Boulevard and Blue Diamond Road where the Brightline West high-speed rail station and a potential NBA-ready arena and hotel project are planned for construction. Stations will go as far north as the Mob Museum downtown.

“It’s the longest run that the Boring Co. will have done. I think it’s a little over 2 miles for each of the tunnels,” Hill said. “It just starts to feel like it’s touching major parts of the city. We’ve got plans to go north as well. It’s a step at a time, but they’re pretty big steps in terms of the transportation options for the city.”

No official time frame exists for when full build-out will be reached, but Lisa Motley, LVCVA vice president of sports and special events, said last week that the goal is to have more widespread stations in operation by the 2028 Final Four, scheduled to take place at Allegiant Stadium.

“Hopefully before then,” Motley said.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on X. Send questions and comments to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com.

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