Ariel view of Devil's Slide tunnel project.
Aerial view of Devil’s Slide tunnel project. Credit: Carwil / Wikimedia Commons

It’s been a long time coming. The first highway tunnels to open in California in nearly fifty years are about ready for motorists.

Two mile-long, state-of-the-art tunnels will offer a new route to what has been a stunning, cliffhanger of a drive along Highway 1 above Northern California’s coast. The passage, between Pacifica and Half Moon Bay, has been the site of so many landslides, prolonged closures and deadly car accidents that it earned the name, “Devil’s Slide.”

Photo: Jenny Oh
Photo: Jenny Oh

The new tunnel consists of two bores each about 4,200 feet long with one lane and wide shoulder. The cutting edge tunnels have been a major engineering project and will feature jet-powered exhaust fans and carbon monoxide sensors. That’s much more high-tech than Cal Trans’ last tunnel, the third bore of the Caldecott Tunnel, which opened in 1964.

Photo: Jenny Oh
Photo: Jenny Oh

After five decades of political and environmental roadblocks, the 439-million dollar federally funded project is finished. Its opening will roll out over two days. Opening ceremonies for the twin tunnels and accompanying bridges is Monday, March 25th. The tunnels will be ready for commuters the following morning. The old Devil’s Slide stretch of California coastline will soon open up to hikers and bike riders.

  • jason west

    it looks to be only one lane. iwould hope that there were at least an emergency lane and full time attendance.

  • Coastside Bill

    It’s one lane with wide shoulder.

  • Steve Harris

    each lane has it’s own tunnel.


Andrea Kissack

Andrea Kissack (@andreakissack) is KQED's Senior Science Editor. Andrea was born in Los Angeles and discovered radio news through listening to her college radio station. With a curious mind and a love for telling stories, she set off for Tampa where she landed her first job as a reporter for Florida Public Radio. After three years reporting in an unbearably humid climate and a brief stint as a miscast opera reporter, Andrea returned to L.A. to work for public radio, then for television news and finally as a reporter for CBS radio. Andrea has been at KQED for over twelve years, working first as a producer for Forum, and then as the senior producer for The California Report. She is now KQED's Senior Science and Environment Editor and narrates the QUEST television program. Andrea says she feels lucky to cover emerging science and environmental trends in a place where geek is chic.

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