Members and staff of the California Coastal Commission, accompanied by several local residents, visited the Devil's Slide tunnels construction project December 13. The tunnels are due to open this winter.
Forest and Mitch Reid in the southbound tunnel Forest and faux rock at north portal (Mitch Reid photo) Southbound tunnel portal (Mitch Reid photo) South portals, November 2012 (Mitch Reid photo) Forest and Mitch Reid with John Lynch (right) inside the southbound tunnel Bridge over Shamrock Ranch (John Maybury photo) Inside the southbound tunnel (John Maybury photo) Caltrans workers and California Coastal Commissioners in safety gear at the north portal (John Maybury photo) Bridge over Shamrock Ranch, with Linda Mar in the distance (John Maybury photo)
Juan "Fogzilla" Mayburrito at the north portal (Mitch Reid photo)
San Mateo County History Museum in downtown Redwood City has a small exhibit about the Devil's Slide Tunnels, featuring the shovel that tunnel activist Mitch Reid's son Forest (above) used for the unofficial groundbreaking. Mitch says, "I have been joking for years that Forest might be driving through by the time they open. Funny thing, he may actually have his drivers permit before they open."
Pacifica City Council member Mary Ann Nihart spoke at the Pacifica-Daly City Democrats breakfast meeting November 17 about collaboration among the U.S. National Park Service, California State Parks Service, San Mateo County Parks, The Coastal Conservancy, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, and the Peninsula Open Space Trust. This collaboration is to be called the Devil's Slide Coast Recreation Area, and I believe, as all of these organizations obviously believe, that this has the makings of a very popular tourist destination.
There has been a great deal of talk over the years about bringing some kind of industry into Pacifica. It has long been obvious to me that tourism is our best bet. We live in a truly gorgeous place. It is of serious geological interest, what with all the tectonic action that is visible on the surface from part of Highway 1 that will become a walking/biking path. We have many wild birds and animals that live here or pass through here on their migrations. We have history, and clean air, and the very famous Pacific Ocean. I encourage everyone to visit:
Nihart also spoke of things the City of Pacifica is doing to make good use of the new Devil's Slide Coast Recreation Area. The one that stood out for me is the Devils Slide Ride, afree weekend shuttle. It is already funded with grant monies (if I had paid better attention, I could say from whom), and is scheduled to start when the tunnels open. Seattle, Washington has enjoyed great success with its free bus service throughout downtown. It has provided a real and lasting boost to Seattle's downtown economy.
For those who have expressed concerns about Pacifica's economic future, I would say that these are real hopeful signs and are in keeping with what our unique little venue has to offer. Thank you, Mary Ann.
This morning I attended a briefing about the Devil's Slide Tunnels presented by Half Moon Bay Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Charise Hale McHugh. I found her comment interesting that although the mile-long tunnels are the first to be built in California in the past 50 years, any notion that they will be timesavers is one of perception. She noted that not only are they replacing a two-lane road with a two-lane road, but also that the time it takes her to drive the coast road from portal to portal is 90 seconds. (And no traffic light at the south end!)
Contract change orders responsible for price overruns.
BY CAMDEN SWITA, PACIFICA PATCH Caltrans' Devil's Slide Tunnels project has run about $30 million over budget, the Half Moon Bay Review reported Wednesday. According to the Review, the cost overruns are a result of several contract change orders made by the state transportation agency over the past four years. The change orders have revised contracts for things such as steel reinforcements and repairs of cracks found by engineers. The extra $30 million brings the total price tag of the project, which would connect the Midcoast to Pacifica, to just over $300 million, the Review reported. Other recent project setbacks have cost both time and money, such as the discovery of "strange" soil patterns that will delay the opening of the tunnels to late 2012 and legal trouble between two area water districts earlier this year.