Gutierrez discusses Elon Musk's Los Angeles tunnel plan with Wired

Marte Gutierrez, J.R. Paden Chair and Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado School of Mines, was recently featured in an Wired article about Elon Musk's idea to build a network of high-speed transportation tunnels in Los Angeles.

Gutierrez is also the director of the University Transportation Center for Underground Transportation Infrastructure (UTC-UTI), the U.S. first Department of Transportation-funded UTC dedicated to underground infrastructure.

From the article:

Thus far, experts say, the ideas Musk has articulated aren’t exactly new. But they could have potential to speed up tunneling, which has seen little research-and-development enthusiasm in the US. (Europe, China, and Japan, by contrast, are great at tunneling.)

But even after last week’s hour of explanation and a smattering of written (and presumably screened) audience queries, WIRED still has some questions about the Boring Company’s proposed test tunnel and the company’s grander vision for a cross-city transportation scheme. Let’s dig in on a few of Musk’s ideas.

1. Make Tunnels Narrower to Reduce Cost

This could work, says Marte Gutierrez, a professor of civil and environmental engineering who studies underground tunneling for transportation at the Colorado School of Mines. “The cost of the tunnel goes up almost exponentially by diameter,” he says. “By making the tunnel smaller, you not only reduce the cost, you make it faster.”