Updated May 13, 2022 - 1:03 pm
Portions of the Elon Musk-owned Boring Company’s Vegas Loop are expected to be operational underneath the resort corridor sometime next year.
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO and President Steve Hill said the timeline depends on the permitting process, but noted he expected that to move fairly quickly.
“This is starting to be a repetitive process,” Hill told the Review-Journal. “ I mean the design of the tunnels isn’t changing and the design of the system isn’t changing. So, the building department has had an opportunity to learn the system, learn the construction methods and learn how it works.”
When the initial resort corridor portions of the loop system go online in 2023 they will open in sections, not necessarily connecting the entire system out of the gate, Hill noted.
“We’ll build phases that are separate to start and then tie them in and subsequent phases,” Hill said. “The (Allegiant) stadium to the Tropicana area will be one phase. The Caesars Loop will be one phase and the Resorts World and Westgate connecting to the convention center will be one phase. Then there will be phases that follow that connect those connections together.”
Boring Company President Steve Davis said last year that five to 10 stations would come online within the first six months of construction starting on the Vegas Loop. With around 15-20 stations being added each year until the full build-out is met.
Permits for a connection to the off-Strip resort the Westgate hotel have been submitted, with work pending on that tunnel.
“The Westgate is shorter and more direct, so that would be the first,” Hill said.
As have permits for the Caesars Loop, a circular segment running around various Caesars Entertainment-owned properties near the Strip and Flamingo Road. Those include Caesars Palace, Paris, Planet Hollywood, Bally’s, Flamingo and the Linq.
Additionally, permits to get the process rolling for a loop running between Allegiant Stadium and Tropicana Avenue/Las Vegas Boulevard have been submitted to Clark County.
“It will provide the first opportunity to connect some other local locations to the stadium itself,” Hill said. “But all those (loop portions) should be open and running sometime in 2023.”
After the stadium and Caesars Loop portions are complete the plan is then to work north/south and connect the stadium end to the Caesars Loop. In addition to connecting the Caesars portion to the north end of the Strip.
The monorail operation agreement with the city of Las Vegas has yet to be approved, but is tentatively set to be finalized at a June 2 Las Vegas City Council meeting.
Following that approval, the process regarding the portion of the Vegas Loop that is set to run into downtown Las Vegas can get underway. That includes the proper permitting and agreements to get construction underway and the individual agreements with each landowner where stops are planned for the downtown area.
The Allegiant Stadium portion of tunnel work has a contract value of $9.18 million while the Caesars Loop portion is pegged at $3.42 million, according to county records. Hill wasn’t familiar with the exact pricing of the system, as the Boring Company is tasked with financing the routes outside of the initial Convention Center Loop.
The Convention Center Loop began operating last year and shuttles conventioneers between three areas of the recently expanded Las Vegas Convention Center. That 0.8 mile dual tunnel system was built at the LVCVA’s expense, totaling $54 million. The large underground central station took up a large portion of that total. With that in mind, Hill noted that most of the Vegas Loop stations will be above ground.
The Boring Company is tasked with paying for the Vegas Loop work, with each resort or property that hosts a station likely paying for work tied to those stops. The Boring Company would also be tasked with operating the system and receiving the revenue generated by rides.
Boring Company is also slated to pay a varying quarterly amount to Clark County and the city of Las Vegas, based on gross revenue generated.
The cost of a Vegas Loop ride is in between the cost of a Uber or Lyft and a bus ticket, officials have stated over the years.
At full build-out the Vegas Loop is planned to stretch from Allegiant Stadium and the south Strip to downtown Las Vegas with 51 stations in between. The Vegas Loop, like the Convention Center Loop, features a fleet of Tesla model vehicles with a safety driver in place transporting passengers to their desired destination. Davis said last year that at full build-out the Vegas Loop system would be able to accommodate 57,000 passengers per hour.
The Boring Company loop model is a point to point system, with riders being taken directly from one point to another, without stopping, making it a faster experience than the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada’s public bus system that stops along a route, or the Las Vegas Monorail, which stops at each station along the nearly four-mile track.
The next connection on the loop system that will go live is a portion connecting Resorts World and the convention center. Work is complete on the Resorts World connector tunnel to the West Hall at the convention center. The tunnels should start to see activity in the near future.
“We’re just going through the process of getting the operating permit to open up that (Resorts World) connection,” Hill said.
The process of tunneling the Resorts World portion was likely the toughest part of the entire system to bore, Hill said.
“It’s probably the most difficult tunnel the Boring Company will ever have to produce,” Hill said. “It turned exceptionally tightly, so it really tested the limit of the boring machine itself and the ability to remove the material from the tunnel. While it was turning tightly it (the boring machine) had to dive, almost like tunneling in a corkscrew.”