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Devil's Slide tunnels to open last week of March

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Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 4:42 pm | Updated: 4:34 pm, Wed Mar 13, 2013.

Twin tunnels at Devil’s Slide on Highway 1 will be opened to traffic on March 25 or 26. At 11 a.m. on March 25, dignitaries from across the state will converge with the locals who made it all happen to commemorate the state’s first tunnel project in nearly 50 years. Later that day or early the next morning the tunnels will open to traffic, according to Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus. The state transportation agency made the announcement late Tuesday afternoon, though information on the opening has been leaking out for days.

The tunnels and attendant bridge on the north side have been essentially complete for months. Caltrans and its contractors have worked in the last few weeks to test emergency systems and assure that the roadways were ready for traffic.

The goal of the tunnels, one serving northbound traffic and the other catering to southbound travelers, is to ensure a smooth passage between Pacifica and Montara. Coastsiders know that the spectacular, winding two lanes over Montara Mountain have been prone to slides that, through the years, have washed out the main thoroughfare for months at a time.

In the past, Devil’s Slide road closures due to impassable conditions have hurt businesses, flared frustration and caused hazardous conditions – sometimes for months at a time.

Caltrans officials made the announcement Tuesday afternoon in the form of a telephone call to the Review, but word of the opening had begun to leak from locals involved with planning for the March 25 opening party.

Moving forward with the tunnels hasn’t always been easy: Their journey has been fraught with controversy as interest groups advocated what they thought best. Some argued vehemently for an inland bypass as early as 1960. Environmentalists opposed that notion, arguing successfully that the tunnels would do the least damage to the area’s fragile ecosystem while guaranteeing a passable roadway.

The tunnels that stand today were finally made possible in 1995 with the passage of the countywide Measure T. However, ground wasn’t broken for the project until 2005.

Contractors from Kiewit Pacific Co. predicted that the entire project would be completed by 2011 for $272 million. The tunnels’ opening date is at least two years late and the final tab was tens of millions of dollars more than initially expected.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Apprentice Vinbeazel posted at 1:58 am on Sat, Jan 4, 2014.

    Apprentice Vinbeazel Posts: 1

    Did anyone happen to notice the massive slide in the coastal route last Sunday, between Ti. Jay.Wanna and EnsaneNADA?? The entire coastal artery just slid into the OCEAN... Last time I checked, that was the ONLY four-lane high-way for the drug lords to use, to transport into Sad Niego. So who will be credited with puting tunnels along Hwy ONE, after 50 years of State-kraft, and how many other areas NEED tunnels, and who besides FeinStein's hubby will earn comisions on this lates land-grab on the coastal route?? My money for the next BIG ONE is with the korprat interests that are building that chunnel near Half-Moon Bay.

  • John Charles Ullom posted at 7:48 pm on Tue, Mar 12, 2013.

    John Charles Ullom Posts: 1073

    Why would anybody want to put a highway in an open space? We have very little to begin with.

    I suspect that the Tunnel could have been drilled for a lot less in 1986 too.

    As far as Graffite, let local kids paint Murals. For some reason, I do not know why, taggers respect street art.

    Anybody remember the original plan? The one where they were going to shovel the side of the mountain into the ocean? Damn Fisherman started pissing and moaning about fish and feeding their families and tradition and such.

    Yep. You have to blame the environmentalists. Why if it weren't for them, Montara Mountain would be covered in Condos with easy access to what once were glorious views.

  • Templar posted at 5:46 pm on Tue, Mar 12, 2013.

    Templar Posts: 26

    The original Bypass could have been built after 1986 for as little as 50 million. Thanks to environmentalist, the last prediction was the entire project would be completed by 2011 for $272 million. The tunnels’ opening date is at least two years late and the final tab was tens of millions of dollars more than initially expected.
    Instead of a low energy, Scenic Hwy, we have a Tunnel which takes jet engines to displace the fumes, Costing $s to maintain and consuming energy (what is the carbon footprint). and instead of a glorious senic view, anyone want to place bets how soon the first gang graffitti is tagged on the tunnel walls?


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