Caldecott Tunnel fourth bore set to open late 2013

August 23, 2013 8:19:50 PM PDT
The new Bay Bridge and its opening after Labor Day is getting all the attention, but in the meantime, there's a project that could bring even bigger traffic relief to East Bay residents. And it's also nearing completion.

Reporter: "What do you care about more? The opening of the Bay Bridge or the fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel?"

"The tunnel, for sure," commuter Matthew Krislewski said.

For those who live or commute to the East Bay beyond the East Bay Hills the new bridge to the west is nice, but this is a necessity.

"Twice a day shifting of the middle bore will be a thing of the past," Caltrans employee Ivy Morrison said.

Not only is the fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel set to open on time, but at $405 million. It will cost about $15 million less than the estimate in 2009.

Laura: "Any big parties planned?"

"No, we are not having a big party. We know that taxpayers, motorists most of all want to drive through the new tunnel," Morrison said.

With its art-deco facade, the outside looks a lot like its predecessors to the south. But on the inside, the new bore is state of the art.

The new fourth bore comes equipped with 19 giant jet fans designed to quickly remove smoke or other pollutants from the tunnel in case of an emergency.

Beyond the fans, there are a number of other systems all designed to work together.

"They include linear heat detectors and carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide sensors, jet fans for ventilation and they're all going to be integrated with each other and monitored from a new operations and maintenance building on the west side of the tunnel," Morrison said.

As for traffic relief, it's really those who drive through the tunnel during non-peak hours that will notice the biggest change. That's when only two lanes are open in the off-commute direction and the backups can get really long.

"I come out here every day, so I'll be excited to see it open and I'll get here a little quicker every morning," Krislewski said.

No specific opening date has been set. Caltrans will only say it's set to open on schedule in late 2013.


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