Elon Musk’s plan to build a traffic-dodging tunnel under Sepulveda Boulevard on the Westside was derailed Tuesday under a legal settlement reached between the tech tycoon’s Boring Co. and a pair of residents’ groups that challenged the lack of an environmental review of the project.
Under the settlement, The Boring Co. will drop plans for the Sepulveda tunnel, and instead focus on a three-plus-mile tunnel to Dodger Stadium.
In a joint statement the Boring Co. and the residents’ groups — the Sunset Coalition and the Brentwood Residents Coalition — announced what they called an amicable resolution to a petition the groups filed May 2 in Los Angeles Superior Court over the Sepulveda tunneling plan.
“The Boring Co. is no longer seeking the development of the Sepulveda test tunnel and instead seeks to construct an operational tunnel at Dodger Stadium,” according to the statement.
The Boring Co. was named in the lawsuit as a “real party in interest,” which refers to a person or entity whose rights are involved and stands to gain from a lawsuit or petition.
The case was scheduled for trial April 5.
Plaintiffs’ attorney John Given did not immediately return a call for comment. He stated in his court papers that the settlement was reached Sept. 13.
Amrit Kulkarni, an attorney for the city, stated in his pre-settlement court papers that the city’s project approval “fully complied with all laws.”
The petition was filed shortly after the Los Angeles City Council’s Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee approved the 2.7-mile “proof of concept” tunnel on the Westside.
The committee determined the tunnel was not a public mass transit system but was only a proof of concept — a distinction needed for the committee to find the project is exempt from the often-stringent requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act.
The tunnel would have run beneath Sepulveda Boulevard, staring with an entry point at property owned by the Boring Co. at 2352 Sepulveda Blvd., north of West Pico Boulevard, and end underground near the corner of Washington Boulevard and Sepulveda in Culver City. Boring Co. officials pitched the tunnel plan to the Culver City Council in January and received a mixed reaction.
Hawthorne leaders in August gave a green light to Musk’s proposal to dig a two-mile test tunnel underneath the city, extending from the headquarters of his company SpaceX. Musk has said that tunnel will be unveiled in a public event on Dec. 10.
In August, Musk announced plans to build an approximately 3.6-mile Dugout Loop underground tunnel that could run from Dodger Stadium to property owned by The Boring Co. near the Vermont/Sunset, Vermont/Santa Monica or Vermont/Beverly Metro Red Line stations.
Dugout Loop will be entirely privately financed and will not require any tax money, the company said.
Musk has touted his proposed system of tunnels as a novel way of avoiding Los Angeles’ notorious traffic congestion. A YouTube video posted by the Boring Co. shows that the system would have electric mobile platforms that can carry either cars or pods for passengers capable of traveling up to 150 mph. Musk said he hopes to eventually build a system that stretches all around the county.
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