California Department of Transportation

California Department of Transportation

Date: November 15, 2013
District: 4 - Oakland
Contact: Ivy Morrison/Leah Robinson-Leach
Phone: (510) 333-4742/(510) 715-6730

Caldecott Tunnel’s New Fourth Bore Set to Open By Monday

OAKLAND – By Monday morning, the new fourth bore of the “world-class” Caldecott Tunnel on State Route 24 in the Oakland Hills will open to traffic, adding two dedicated tunnels in each direction to aid more than 160,000 commuters daily and end the fifty-year-old process of manually reversing the flow of traffic twice per day along the middle bore.

“We have a new world-class tunnel that will go a long way toward easing traffic bottlenecks and improving safety for motorists,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty.

"With the completion of the fourth tunnel, Bay Area residents will get to where they’re going more efficiently and safely through this historically congested area,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The Obama Administration is committed to transportation investments like the Caldecott Tunnel that will help connect people to jobs, grow our economy, and improve the overall quality of life in communities across the country.”

The fourth bore has been designated as a regional lifeline structure and is designed to reopen to emergency traffic within 72 hours of a major earthquake. State-of-the art fire and life safety systems have been installed to detect and suppress fires while protecting the travelling public. The third and fourth bores are also linked by seven passageways allowing people to safely escape on foot during emergencies. A new operations and maintenance facility will be the “nerve center” for the four Caldecott tunnels, as well as the Webster-Posey Tubes in Alameda County.

The Caldecott Fourth Bore is one of the longest-needed and most eagerly anticipated transportation improvements in the entire Bay Area,” said Orinda Mayor Amy Rein Worth, who also serves as chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA), both of which were involved in delivering the Fourth Bore project. “The opening of the new tunnel heralds not only a huge increase in the reliability of travel to and from Contra Costa County, but an important boost for the regional economy as both commuters and freight move more efficiently.” 

The four-year, $417 million project was the recipient of one of the largest Recovery Act grants ($194 million) in the nation and has been at the center of efforts in the Bay Area for economic recovery and jobs creation. Of the $2.6 billion in Recovery Act funding made available to the state, California has paid about $2.5 billion for nearly 1,000 highway, local street, and job training transportation projects statewide.

Proposition 1B, a 2006 voter-approved state transportation bond, provided $11 million for the project. Nearly $17 billion in Proposition 1B funds have been put to work statewide for transportation purposes.

The Contra Costa Transportation Authority contributed approximately $125 million of local transportation sales tax dollars (Measure J) passed by Contra Costa voters in 2004. The remaining funding came through Regional Measure 2 (Bay Area bridge tolls).
Roads & Bridges magazine recently selected the Caldecott Fourth Bore Project as its top road project of 2013.

“Were thrilled to be a partner in delivering the Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore on time and under budget,” stated Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) Chair Janet Abelson, “but Contra Costa voters are the ones that deserve real credit for delivering this long-awaited improvement.  More than a quarter of the $417 million project cost was funded by voter-approved Measure J tax dollars, designed to relieve traffic congestion and improve mobility in Contra Costa County.”

Work to build a fourth bore north of the existing tunnels began in January 2010. The project was a partnership between Caltrans, MTC, CCTA, the Alameda CTC, and the Federal Highway Administration.

“This project is an excellent example of multi-agency and multi-county collaboration,” said Alameda CTC Chair Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who also is a commissioner on MTC and BATA. “Working together, we prioritized efficiency and safety, and leveraged local and regional funding to support this major transportation improvement.”

Since 1964 when the Caldecott’s third bore opened, Caltrans had to raise and lower powered cones to reverse the flow of traffic twice per day on the two-lane middle bore. As a result of this project, the tunnel will now have two permanent two-lane bores in each direction.

2013 has been a banner year for landmark transportation projects in the Bay Area:  

  • The earthquake retrofit of the Dumbarton Bridge was completed months ahead of schedule in February.
  • Caltrans opened its first set of tunnels in more than 50 years at Devil’s Slide, which will protect residents and businesses from slide-related closures of State Route 1 near Pacifica.
  • The entire Bay Area celebrated in September when the spectacular new east span of the Bay Bridge opened. All state-owned bridges in the Bay Area are now equipped with cutting-edge seismic technology.

In addition, Doyle Drive, the southern gateway to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, is being replaced with a modern, seismically-safe roadway called the Presidio Parkway. The billion-dollar project is scheduled for completion in 2015. Construction also continues on the $700 million Marin-Sonoma Narrow Project, which is widening U.S. Highway 101 from Novato to Petaluma and making other major improvements to the highway.

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