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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.