Tunnel Trivia and a Sneak Peek Inside

Short video clips of the Devil's Slide tunnels and a long list of quirky and interesting facts about the project.

There is not that much activity happening at Devil's Slide now that the tunnels are complete and Caltrans is putting the finishing touches on the Highway 1 bypass. After five years of excavating and tunneling, the big job is done. Now it's the litany list of small jobs to attend to with opening day closer than ever before. Caltrans says the opening will happen sometime in the first quarter of 2013, most likely end of March.

For one of the most exciting transportation projects to hit the Bay Area in decades, there is not a whole lot of excitement happening inside the new Devil's Slide tunnels, but it's still fun to look at and there are certainly a number of interesting facts to learn about the project.

So take a look for yourself in the video clips uploaded to this article and while you're at it, here's some tunnel trivia every Coastsider should know:

• A small natural waterfall remains to the right of the southern entrance of the tunnels.

• A “frog resort” or special trough of water at the bottom of this waterfall was designed as a habitat for the endangered California red-legged frog.

• Estimated cost for the tunnels is $439 million.

• Over 600,000 cubic yards of material excavated; 30,000 truck loads.

• More than 1,000 people — from engineers and politicians to the media — have toured the tunnel in the last six years.

• The tunnels will be named the Tom Lantos Tunnels at Devil’s Slide, after the late San Mateo Congressman who secured about $150 million in federal funding to get the project off the ground.

• Caltrans employees paid $120 out of their own pocket to own a Carhartt jacket with the Devil’s Slide logo on it.

• Speed limit in the tunnel will be 45 mph.

• The 1,000-foot twin bridges are referred to as the North Portal Bridges.

• The bridge construction was done from overhead to not disturb the Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) below.

• The faux rocks over the southern portals are completely hollow.

• Approximately one-quarter mile south of the tunnels is the site of an Operations and Maintenance facility with an embankment and vegetation-covered roof that will help the facility blend with natural surroundings.

• Slotted gutters along the eastern side of each tunnel allows for water drainage to prevent flooding.

• Both tunnels were bored at the same time, one tunnel face approximately 60 yards ahead of the other.

• There are no restrooms inside in the tunnels.

• 32 exhaust fans are inside the tunnels.

• 3 full-time biologists worked on the job.

• All runoff water from the tunnels will go through a leach water treatment plant before hitting the ocean.

• 5 stoplights are in each tunnel.

• 21 emergency call boxes are in each tunnel.

• 5 security cameras are in each tunnel.

• There’s an exit (cross passages) connecting the tunnels together at every 240 feet.

• The 8-foot shoulder will serve as a place for stalled cars to pull off the road as well as for bicyclists to pedal through the tunnel although most bike riders will probably choose to pedal along the current stretch of highway, which will become a bike trail and park.

• Heat detectors, intrusion devices and security cameras are in each cross passage to deter vandalism and vagrants.

• Cross passage No. 6 is big enough to fit a police car through for emergencies.

• There are two coats of an anti-graffiti lacquer on the concrete portion of the tunnels.

• It took 5 years of tunneling to get to the other side.

• One of the largest excavators in the world at the time was used to dig out the tunnel.

• Two parking lots will be built on either end of the portals.

• Estimated date of opening to the public: possibly end of March.

• The rock rebar wall at the entrance of the southern portals was the first phase of the project and its design was inspired by the scenery used in the Indiana Jones Adventure ride at Disneyland.

Do you know any tunnel trivia? Add it to the list in the comments section below.


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