DENVER -- The future of transportation is one step closer to becoming a reality in Colorado. The Colorado Department of Transportation and Virgin Hyperloop One have announced they are halfway through their feasibility study for the Rocky Mountain Hyperloop.
Phase one began last year and looked at the technological and economic costs of the proposed hyperloop. The price tag for the idea is not cheap; initial estimates put the transportation technology close to $24 billion.
The second phase of the study will look at some of the other challenges the hyperloop would face, things like where to build the first sections, how it would work, right-of-way issues and more.
CDOT and Virgin Hyperloop One also announced the location of the first proposed station. It would be in an empty field near 72nd and Himalaya. That location is close to Denver International Airport, the upcoming Gaylord Rockies Hotel and a proposed A Line rail station.
“Colorado has it all, from booming sectors in aerospace, technology and renewable energy to the Rockies’ natural splendor,” said Rob Lloyd, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop One in a press release. “With so many drawn to the state, hyperloop will enable efficient, fast, effortless connections that link Coloradans across city limits to work, live, and play.”
If the proposal goes through, the first sections of the hyperloop would likely be constructed away from the mountains so that the technology can be tested without grade as a factor. The idea is for hyperloop pods to travel up to 670 miles per hour.
That means passengers could one day travel from Denver to Vail in 8.4 minutes. Virgin Hyperloop One uses magnets to levitate the pods off of the track to get them up to those high speeds. The tunnels also have a vacuum system to suck air out in order to prevent drag.
Last year, the company got a pod up to 240 miles per hour in its first full-system test site near Las Vegas.
In addition to looking at some of the transportation challenges, the second phase of the Denver study would look at potential business partners, such as local governments, to test out the demand for the project.
"We have received some very positive feedback from interested Colorado stakeholders during and following our outreach event. To me it's apparent that Colorado citizens are interested in the safety and mobility benefits a hyperloop system could bring to Colorado," said Amy Ford, Chief of Advanced Mobility for the Colorado Department of Transportation in a press release.
There’s no word yet on how long the second phase of the Virgin Hyperloop One study will take.