Doyle Drive project credits progress to stimulus funds


What is now still just a stretch of dirt will someday be the southbound Battery Tunnel of the new Presidio Parkway.

Cars will come into daylight again, before heading into another tunnel at the parade grounds, where pedestrians will have an uninterrupted view and route between the main post and Crissy Field.

When the tunnel is built, it will connect with a new southbound bridge, called a high viaduct.

The first battery tunnel and detour road project are getting started a year ahead of schedule thanks to $83 million in stimulus funding.

"We are rebuilding the economy as we are rebuilding the infrastructure of America," FHA administrator Victor Mendez said.

"This is a legitimate stimulus project, shovel-ready project that would not have taken place a year ahead of schedule, which will save the taxpayers $90 million, had it not been for the leadership of Speaker Pelosi and Barack Obama," San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said.

Newsom says 6,200 jobs will be created directly and indirectly by the project.

Cal-Con concrete pumping is based in the Bayview. Owner Julie Berry says she was able to increase her staff from three people to five and buy new equipment thanks two contracts worth $3 million -- contracts she could not have won without the Recovery Act and outreach from the Presidio Parkway Project.

"Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for understanding how critically important small and disadvantaged businesses are to the fabric of the great city, our state and our nation," Berry said.

The billion dollar Doyle Drive replacement project has 12 different funding sources, including a public-private partnership that could become a national model for neglected infrastructure.

"I think as you look to the future there is no silver bullet in the way we will invest in the future, but I think what we need to be looking at are those innovative solutions, such as what's going to happen here for the final four contracts, it will be a public-private partnership," Mendez said.

The Battery Tunnels are named for the historic batteries once manned by the Presidio gunners, which they will run along side.

Doyle Drive is being replaced because the 1936 structure is seismically unsound. It should be comepleted by 2013.

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