New study confirms hyperloop system from KC to St. Louis would be feasible

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A new study says a hyperloop system from Kansas City to St. Louis in less than a half hour is not only safe and sustainable, it's also feasible.

Hyperloop technology involves a tubular track through which a train-like pod carries passengers at speeds up to 640 mph.

Virgin Hyperloop One is working to develop the country's first hyperloop system. The company has already developed a full-scale protoype and is now determining where to build a real one.

A new study says a hyperloop system from Kansas City to St. Louis in less than a half hour is not only safe and sustainable, it's also feasible.

The new study and report, which was conducted by Overland Park-based Black and Veatch, analyzed a hyperloop route along Interstate 70, connecting Kansas City, Columbia and St. Louis.

A new study says a hyperloop system from Kansas City to St. Louis in less than a half hour is not only safe and sustainable, it's also feasible. Photo courtesy Virgin Hyperloop One.

Black and Veatch examined the technology, construction and economics of the project and found that it's feasible for Missouri.

"We found this project is a case of solid engineering meeting up with Virgin Hyperloop One's innovative vision to create a network transforming the very concept of community," said Steve Edwards, chairman and CEO of Black and Veatch.

The study found that the travel time between KC and STL would be just 28 minutes, compared to the nearly 4 hours required to drive. Trips to Columbia from either city would be just 15 minutes.

The land along the interstate is straight and relatively flat, the feasibility study says, making construction relatively simple.

According to the study, the cost to use the hyperloop would also be less than the cost of gas to drive. Additionally, with fewer drivers on the interstate, Black and Veatch said it would reduce crashes and the resulting costs of damage.

The report did not release specific details about how much it would cost to build the Missouri hyperloop.

But Marcia Christoff, a spokeswoman for Virgin Hyperloop One said they estimate it will cost about $30 million to $40 million per mile, including the construction of the track. At this time, the company believes the route will be approximately 250 miles, putting the total cost into the billions.

The report says that cost would still be 40 percent lower than other similar projects around the world.

The Missouri hyperloop could be the central link to a national system, according to the study.

"We are especially proud that Missouri, with its iconic status in the history of U.S. transportation as the birthplace of the highway system, could be the keystone of a nationwide network," Virgin Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd said.

Black and Veatch's report suggests next steps to continue evaluating the system, but it's not clear if or when those steps would begin.

Two other states, Ohio and Colorado, are also currently working on feasibility studies for a hyperloop system, and Texas officials said the state plans to start the process as well.

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