Caltrans last week celebrated the �punch-through� of the north portal of the Devil�s Slide Tunnel on State Route 1 (SR-1) in San Mateo County. To the cheers of the assembled crowd, crews operating the massive excavator bored through the barrier � a retaining wall on the northern end of the tunnel.
Caltrans broke ground on the tunnels on Sept. 17, 2007. The tunnels will replace a stretch of SR-1 known as �Devil�s Slide� that was subject to numerous rockslides and slip-outs. At times, the highway was subject to long-term road closures due to extensive weather damage.
Financed entirely with federal funding, the $300-million dollar tunnels, each just over 4,000 ft feet long and 30 ft wide, are expected to be completed in early 2012.
�This is a thrilling and historic milestone,� says Caltrans Director Cindy McKim. �We are well on our way to completing these tunnels and ending, once and for all, road closures that have impacted the local communities.�
Once the tunnels are open to traffic, Caltrans will relinquish the property to San Mateo County. Future plans for the property include a new park with bicycle and pedestrian pathways.
The coast between Pacifica and Montara is unsurpassed in scenic beauty. Carved out of the steep cliff sides, Route 1 hugs the coastline for much of the distance between these two towns. One of the longest Devil�s Slide road closures happened in 1995. It lasted 158 days, and cost almost $3 million to repair.