Long-Awaited Devil’s Slide Tunnels Open Today

(BCN) — Two tunnels that will replace a notorious stretch of state Highway 1 in San Mateo County at Devil’s Slide are set to open to traffic today.

A ceremony was under way Monday morning to mark the completion of the $439 million Tom Lantos Tunnels, which bypass a steep, winding portion of coastal highway between Pacifica and Half Moon Bay that has long been  susceptible to rockslide-related closures.

The closures had a devastating impact on local economies of Half Moon Bay and neighboring communities.

The two state-of-the-art tunnel bores, which run through San Pedro Mountain, are set to open to traffic sometime tonight or early Tuesday.

“The days of washed out highways, prolonged closures and stranded  ommunities are behind us,” Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said in a  statement.

This morning, under gray skies, hundreds gathered at the tunnels to celebrate the milestone, including Half Moon Bay High School’s marching  band. The program was getting under way shortly after 11 a.m.

The tunnels are named after the late U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, whose former Congressional seat is now filled by Jackie Speier.

The legislation to name the tunnels in his honor was authored by state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo.

“I only wish that Tom was also able to see this day come to fruition,” Yee said in a prepared statement this morning. “His efforts, as  well as so many on the coastside, ensured that this pristine coastal land was not paved over.”

To celebrate the opening of the tunnels, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company is holding a community celebration today to unveil its new beer,  “Tunnel Vision Ale.”

(Copyright 2013, Bay City News, All rights reserved.)

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