Devil's slide tunnels more than halfway done

The California Department of Transportation expects the new tunnel project that will allow drivers on state Highway 1 to bypass the infamous
Devil's Slide area will be open to traffic in late 2011, a spokesman said Monday.

Crews working on the Devil's Slide tunnel bypass project between Pacifica and Montara are boring inland, and expect to punch through the
tunnel's north portal late next year, Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus said.He estimated crews are just past the halfway mark in digging and excavating the Bay Area's first new tunnel since the Caldecott Tunnel opened in 1964.

When finished, the $342 million bypass project will route drivers through two 30-foot-wide tunnels, each 4,200 feet long, that run beneath San
Pedro Mountain. The roadway will no longer pass through the area known as Devil's Slide, geologically unstable and infamous for frequent rockslides, landslides, and road closures.

The project also calls for the existing roadway to be converted into trail and recreation space after the tunnels open. This conversion
should be finished in 2012, Haus said. Cars will access the tunnels' northern entrance using two new bridges that have already been completed.

A Caltrans environmental planner will be attending an open house, hosted by the National Park Service, Tuesday at 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the
Pacifica Moose Lodge, 776 Bradford Way, to provide more information on the trails, and landscaping efforts at the tunnels' north portal, Haus said.

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