Devil’s Slide tunnels delayed
July 18, 2011, 03:30 AM By Bill Silverfarb, Daily Journal staff
Photo courtesy of Caltrans
The tunnel project at Devil’s Slide will be delayed at least a year as crews have encountered soil movement which creates the need for extra reinforcement work. The two tunnels at Devil’s Slide will not open until late in 2012, putting the project more than a year behind schedule, according to Caltrans. The delay will also push the cost higher for the $350 million project that got under way in 2007, although Caltrans has yet to determine the added cost. Last month, Caltrans said the project would be delayed until mid-2012 but earlier this week adjusted the date toward the end of 2012 due to tunnel soil movement, which will require more reinforcement work. Caltrans was hoping to have the project completed by the end of this year. The project was actually four weeks ahead of schedule when construction crews punched through Montara Mountain back in October.
Half Moon Bay Councilman Allan Alifano is not too concerned with the delay but hopes Devil’s Slide can hold up another year while tunnel work is completed. The dangerous stretch of road on Highway 1 between Montara and Pacifica is prone to landslides. It was closed for five months after an April 2006 storm caused the road to slip toward the ocean. The last major closure on Devil’s Slide was caused by a landslide in January 2008. When Devil’s Slide is closed, traffic is forced to access the coast via State Route 92, a major inconvenience for commuters, Alifano said. The tunnels will make for quicker commutes, Alifano said, although he is not convinced yet they will bring Half Moon Bay more tourists, which the town depends on to fund core services.
The scope of the project includes constructing two tunnels, two bridges linking Highway 1 in Pacifica to the tunnels, approaching road revisions south of the tunnels, equipment buildings and an office building. The bypassed section of Highway 1, together with 70 acres of right-of-way the state owns, will be available for public access and recreational use following the planned tunnel opening in late 2012, according to Caltrans. Caltrans will also monitor and improve the state of wetlands, wildlife and plants in the area.
The tunnels will be named after Tom Lantos, the late San Mateo congressman who secured $175 million in federal funds for the bypass. Lantos had worked for three decades to bring the project’s plans to light and dedicated the two tunnels before he died in early 2008 at the age of 80.
Bill Silverfarb can be reached by email: email@example.com or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 106.