But the slice of pavement near the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives building in the District of Columbia could be the gritty precursor to a tunnel network that could propel pods filled with people and speeding platforms topped with Teslas and Toyotas between the nation's capital and New York in 29 minutes.
Or it could be just be a parking lot littered with dashed transportation dreams.
Electric-car pioneer and space entrepreneur Elon Musk has been touting his vision for a high-speed transportation system since his tweeted announcement last summer that he had received "verbal govt approval" for his tunnel-digging firm, the Boring Co., to build a "NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop."
The Boring Co. team has received an early, and vague, building permit from the D.C. government that will allow some preparatory and excavation work at the fenced-off parking lot at 53 New York Avenue NE beside a McDonald's and amid the construction cranes of Washington's booming NoMa neighborhood.
Timely, incisive articles delivered directly to your inbox.