By Melissa Garcia

DENVER (CBS4)– Colorado is one step closer to a supersonic transport system with the Hyperloop One, which would zip passengers and cargo along the Front Range at more than 700 mph.

That speed would translate into a five-minute trip from Denver to Boulder.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The Colorado Department of Transportation is one of 35 semi-finalists in a global competition, and one of two semi-finalists in Colorado, for the new technology which would provide a safer and faster commute.

CDOT told CBS4 their plan is to build a route that would take people from Denver International Airport to Greeley in about 10 minutes.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Researchers describe Hyperloop One as a sort of “bullet train” that can travel the distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco, normally a five-and-a-half-hour drive, in just 30 minutes.

“It’s almost like a pipeline that’s above the Earth,” said CDOT Executive Director Shailen Bhatt.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Bhatt said the pipeline is a suspended vacuum tube that will move people and things inside capsules at a speed of up to 700 mph.

“You can put people in them. You can put freight in them. There’s a lot of applications. So it’s kind of like the railroad- only a couple hundred years later, and it’s a new technology,” said Bhatt.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

CDOT is proposing construction on the new technology from DIA to Greeley, while Colorado’s other semi-finalist, a project called Colorado Hyperloop, would build a path running up and down the Front Range.

“We hope we win. We got a one in 35 chance of winning. But we’re going up against cities and corridors across the world,” said Bhatt. “Even if we don’t win though, this is something that’s going to be part of the future in transportation, so we’ll definitely be looking at it.”

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Of the 35 semi-finalists, Hyperloop One will select about a dozen winners in May. If CDOT is one of those, they plan to start construction immediately.

The funds will come from both taxpayer dollars out of CDOT’s ROAD-X program as well as private funding from the Hyperloop One company.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to

Comments (12)
  1. John Walters says:

    Oh goodie, another transportation target for Islamic extremists to sacrifice to Allah.

    1. Chad Pattan says:

      And we have a winner. Those concrete posts are way too exposed for easy bomb setting.

      That’s the primary concern we should be having. Unless they plan to set up 24/7 security at every quarter mile, this is a huge security issue.

  2. There is no reason to get to Boulder in 5 minutes. Five days is more like it.

  3. So many nay sayers; so little knowledge. Reminds me of the recent election!

  4. A pipe dream very fitting for Colorado.

  5. The Hyperloop isn’t a new concept; the idea has been around for a century. The reason you haven’t ever seen one built is that it has a lot of practical problems. For example, suppose you lose power or the propulsion breaks between stations. Now, you and your fellow passengers a trapped in a sealed capsule without power in a large vacuum tube. Of course, coming to an unpowered stop from 700 mph is a problem unto itself, especially if something is stopped in the tube ahead of you. An even bigger problem is correcting for thermal expansion and contraction in the tube itself, as it is fully exposed to air temperature variations and sunlight. Being a vacuum-sealed tube, it can’t have regular railroad expansion joints, and if it carries people, it can’t have U-joints, either. But, if you get around all of that, you also need to prepare for a breach in the vacuum tube, as such an event would cause a crushing wall of air to race through the tube at supersonic speeds. So, a lot of problems with this concept.

    1. You have no idea what you’re talking about. They hyperloop IS a new concept because no one had the plans that Musk and his engineers designed and released to the public. It’s not a vacuum tube, Musk acknowledged that’s not practical for many reasons – it uses low-pressure drag reduction. If you Why do you assume there will be random things stopped inside the tube? It’s not a free-for-all, and there are generators on pods themselves so there is no ‘unpowered stop’ and if there were extendable wheels could be used like on Mag Lev trains. The technology is clearly new and still needs proving out but your ideas about the hurdles they need to overcome are way off base.

      1. It’s a near-vacuum tube. There will be practical challenges no matter what, so it’s important to realize that many tests are required and future problems will be encountered before the technology is reliable. It’s hard to imagine it being more dangerous than Amtrak.

  6. They can’t even get the light rail to operate from downtown Denver to the airport, without major delays..!

  7. Mike Muniz says:

    Greeley??!! How about ski country?

  8. Sounds fascinating, but at 700 mph, if you crashed at that speed there wouldn’t be much left.

    1. Yeah, much better to crash at only 350 mph in an airplane.

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