Album: Touring the Devil’s Slide Tunnel construction site with Congressman Lantos

Posted by on Fri, June 1, 2007

Cheri Parr
Cheri Parr
Cheri Parr

"They’re pretending to be God," Congressman Lantos joked when he saw the simulated stone surfaces at the south portal construction site. It’s probably not the first time anyone has said that about Caltrans, but probably the first time it was intended as a compliment.

Congressman Lantos visited the construction site of the Devil’s Slide Tunnel on Thursday afternoon, May 31. We had an opportunity to drive through the construction at the south portal site, but the real action was at the north portal site, where the bridge over the valley is already beginning to dominate the scene.

Caltrans was eager to show the many places where they had mitigated the loss of wetlands, preserved red-legged frog habitat, and taken smaller steps to ensure the the massive building project did as little collateral damage as possible.

Lantos was clearly happy to see the project getting started. Lantos secured federal funding for a bypass in the early 1980s, and kept it alive until 2005, when the Caltrans finally got approval to build a tunnel instead.

Click any photo to see our album. We’ll update the photos with more detailed captions later.

Great pictures Cheri!

I’ve been fascinated by the brief glimpses of the north portal bridge construction I’ve been able to see while driving by, wishing I could get a better view of the progress. Now I can see they’re even farther along than I thought.

Comment 2
Mon, June 4, 2007 1:27pm
All my comments

Very nice photos, and I am glad to see some progress. Six years is a long time, though. The recent Oakland freeway repair in a matter of days is an example to all that things do not have to take so long. Perhaps it is time that we consider more incentive-based projects with outside contractors. I can’t help wondering how long the Maze contractor would take to build this tunnel.

With all due respect to CalTrans—and I have seen improvements in this organization—perhaps we need to look at a new paradigm or model for how we get things done, not only for transportation projects, but other government projects as well. What is the government’s responsibility to society when it comes to such projects? Is it to do the work itself? Or is their responsibility to ensure that it gets done corrently, as quickly as possible and for the least possible cost?

Perhaps it is time to re-examine our methods and beliefs in this area. We may find that by handing more responsibility to the private sector of our society, we can all benefit.

It never hurts to re-examine how we think about such matters and whether or not there is a better way to do things. I would like to thank CalTrans for all they have accomplished on the tunnel project and their role in rebuilding the Maze.

Hans Kuendig