Devil’s Slide to reopen August 4


Posted by on Thu, July 20, 2006

At a press conference today in Redwood City Caltrans announced that they expected to open Devil’s Slide to the public, barring any unforeseen difficulties in time for the afternoon commute on August 4, over a month earlier than previously expected. Work on the road will continue, but the road will be open.

Caltrans spokesman attributed moving up the date to several factors, including their success in scheduling multiple work crews on the Slide on a twenty-four hour basis.

Devil’s Slide has been closed since the beginning of April, causing frustrating delays for commuters and visitors alike. Traffic congestion went down slightly at the beginning of summer but in the past few weeks it has risen again—commutes from Montara to Half Moon Bay can take forty-five minutes or more during peak hours, plus another half hour or so to reach the I-280 junction.

The Slide will be fully open during regular commute hours but work will continue both at the main work area and the smaller site near Pacifica during off-hours.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Caltrans made their announcement at 3:30pm today.  Due a combination of circumstances, including some technical difficulties and the fact that we were in the air during today’s press conference, this story did not get posted until this evening.


OK,
now we can forget carpooling and other ideas that would reduce traffic until the next disaster.
Is global warming a disaster yet?
Tim

Let’s have a party at the cliffs in Montara to celebrate.  I’ll bring a dish!
L

Looks like the repair fund ran out early, thank god for that.  The contractors (and Caltrans) can no longer keep all of that equipment and manpower up on the road 24/7 and still make a profit. 

If there was a way to get more money, there is no doubt in my mind they would continue to drill holes into the mountain and stick more rebar into the holes.  Fortunatly for all of us coastsiders the state has no money and the feds have already giving us enough to not only fix the road but build a tunnel bypass, so they are out.

This has just been a complete boondoggle from day one, i am just glad it is almost over!!!!

Thanks to all the folks that kept the pressure on CalTrans to open to limited traffic, especially the MCC.  I have to chuckle at all the local politicos at the half way done photo-op last Saturday.

Linda, make sure you bring plenty of sour kraut for ricahrd..I’ll bring the lemons!!!

I think CalTrans deserves our heartfelt gratitude and recognition for a job *very* well done.  When have you seen a government agency do so much so quickly, communicating progress, and making such a big impact, especially on a relatively small number of affected residents?

I, for one, can’t thank Bijan Sartipi and his crew enough for doing the job that they’ve done.  I don’t see how they could have done any better.

Isn’t this how we would want all of our government agencies to work?  I’d like to encourage more of the same.

If there’s a party, the CalTrans people who did the work should be our honored guests!  And if I ran a business on the coast, I’d be thinking of ways to dish out some coupons or freebies to thank these people for their superlative efforts.

If you’re still grousing about CalTrans, what would it take to make you happy?

—Dan

opps…Brain F*rt….I of coure meant cheerfull Robert….

Still want to plan a party - seriously.  And yes the CT workers should be honored.  No lemons..
L

Dan Blick wrote:
“If you’re still grousing about CalTrans, what would it take to make you happy?”

Well, for starters, how about having them pull out those ugly orange-bag-covered lights at the intersection of Hwys 1 and 92?

I think a block party north of Montara is an excellent idea. How about the evening of Aug. 3rd everybody bring something to share. Think about it we’ve all been in this together so why not celebrate together. I hope to see everybody there.

I think that CalTrans intentionally gave a public estimate much later than they expected, just so that people would be falling all over themselves with gratitude towards CalTrans for having it open “early”.

“The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.” - George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

I agree with everything Dan stated above. Great job CalTrans, and Thank You! I hope those folks that had criticized CalTrans in these past weeks feel a little embarassed by their statements.

My guess is that there might have been bonuses if the work was done earlier.

For reasons not completely known to me, CALTrans CAN perform when needed, but can also be incredibly bureaucratic. Ref. the San Mateo bridge rebuild v. the Oak/SF Bridge.

My guess is that part of that is external politics, and like anything in business - a lot depends on getting the right project manager on the job to make things happen. Mr Sartipi seems to have been the right guy for the job here, and any good business person knows the adage - underpromise and overdeliver.

I say this was a project WELL DONE! and I’m happy the road will be open before school starts back. Celebrations and big Thank Yous! to CAL Trans are definitely in order!

Leonard, perhaps CalTrans estimated a late September date because they didn’t know what they would run into throughout the drilling process.  Any good project manager knows to consider the risks to the timeline when pulling it together. 

Considering the level of distrust for CalTrans from some coastsiders, I too would be conservative in my timeline because these are the same people complaining and coming up with conspiracy theories if the slide opening were delayed.  However, based upon what I’ve read from some people on this blog, it doesn’t matter what CalTrans does because they’re going to get criticized anyway. 

I for one think they’ve done a great job with the situation at hand and, in general, have reacted well to the needs of the coastside.  Furthermore, I think they’ve done a great job at communicating with the public and reacting to the suggestions that actually made sense.

Let’s Party!

OK, if there is interest in a block party on Aug. 3 at 6 pm please e-mail me and I will “attempt” to organize.  It would be great to invite Caltrans workers so their schedule has to be coordinated.  Anyone want to help?
<email>[email protected]</email>
L

So can anyone pin a precise time window on “fully open during regular commute hours?”  4 to 10 am?  5 to 9 am?  And in the evenings too?  It’d be very helpful to know for sure.

Regardin distrust of Caltrans ...  If it’s a conspiracy when the road’s open early, and it would have been a conspiracy if the road opened late, then we’re facing the most nefarious conspiracy ever, with goals so broad that all possible outcomes play into their hands.  Chilling stuff.

Two thankful things about the slide closure.  First it made me more productive at work.  Arriving at 7am to beat the morning commute has allowed me to keep up with our parent company who are 2 time zones ahead, my boss who gets in early and I get more work done in the quiet before the rest of my coworkers arrive. I plan on continuing my early shift so that when the road cracks open again to orks and goblins it won’t affect my life too much. Plus by then I’ll get myself a mule and Sherpa to guide me over Montara Mtn.  Second thankful thing, I was introduced to coastsider.com.

Yes, good question - what constitues commute hours to CalTran?

last comment—

I see all of the “SHEEPLE” on the coast are swallowing the CALTRANS propaganda hook line and sinker, what else could be expected, where is Carl May when i need him?? 

Just think if they had not done so much politicing in the first month after the slide went out, the road would have been open JULY 4th and our kids could have seen a fireworks show!!!

Remember it took these beaurcrats over a month before they even came up with a plan—from April 3 until well into May!!!!

What I find interesting is that no less than a three weeks ago CALTRANS was basking in the glory of being ‘halfway done” and that they could not open the road until all of the work was complete. Then three weeks later they announce they are done????

This tells me that Mr. Sartipi and co. have no clue as to what is going on up on the slide.  Their only concern was granting the 7.5 million dollar contract to presumably a firm or two they “owed” a favor to…...

 

Thank,s CalTrans for getting the slide fixed earlier than predicted. I say to all those who whine about Cal Trans pick up a shovel, pick,drill etc & hang over the cliff in the middle of the night & have at it, otherwise stop your whining.I will bet most of the whining comes from sit behind the desk office pouges.
This from one who did double & triple shifts in all kinds of weather & is paying for it in his “golden” years. Thanks again Cal Trans from a 37 year HMB resident. Please dont take all the whining to heart it,s our job on the coast to whine about everything.

I just have to know—

What is an “office pouge?” (and how do you pronounce it?)

Thank Caltrans for doing something in another week and a half that should have been done two and one-half months ago? Be embarrassed for stating the obvious, as demonstrated by how roads across landslides are opened after outages everywhere else?

Anyone who is falling all over themself in gratitude is just setting themself up for more life disruption the next time a road goes out around here. You are letting the politicians and bureaucrats know that their spin works on you, that they can play on your naivete at will. You are letting them know the impacts on you were not all that trying, thanks to your ready willingness to forgive, forget, and party because a bad situation imposed on you wasn’t worse.

Carl May

Matt Berman asked:

What is an “office pouge?” (and how do you pronounce it?)

Ah! You may have proved Sam Carrieri’s point if you had to ask!

—> Humor disclaimer goes here <—

So Carl,

When should the slide have been opened to traffic? Was it during the time when rocks were still falling or when heavy machinery filled the majority of space on the slide?  Were you willing to extend the ultimate opening until October or November so that traffic could get through?

Tell me how they could have pulled it off.  I’m curious to hear how.  Perhaps implementing 36 hour shifts?

Mike “Sheeple” McCall

Linda,
I think a party is a great idea.  My husband and I would be happy to help anyway we can.

I completely agree with all of those looking at the bright side of things.  I really feel sorry for those who take satisfaction out of criticizing others and devising conspiracy theories.  Just drop it, or set up a separate blog for your fellow cynics - or better yet, try to be part of the solution rather than the problem!!

Anita Krpata
18-hr-a-day office person/pouge who can appreciate a job well done when she sees it.

Hey Anita you sound like a nice office “pouge”.And Matt, i was first introduced to the term “pouge” by one of my lovely, snarling drill instructors at Parris Island Marine Corps recruit depot 49 years ago. Tried to look it up in the slang dictionary to see what they said about it but it wasn’t there. Maybe the DI tought it up as one of his many nasty things he hurled @ us hapless recruits.

No big deal if the slide had been opened to controlled traffic in May and any slowing of repairs requiring access to the roadbed caused the schedule to go on into October. (Of course, we don’t know if slowing of repairs would have been necessary with different scheduling.) Caltrans could have spent its money as easily that way and saved everyone three months of unnecessary disruption of their lives and businesses. Pumpkin Festival? Easy—just halt any construction for that weekend and keep the road wide open in both directions.

Folks who still imagine Caltrans does as well as it can locally to provide roads for the coastside really need to learn more about the history of Caltrans arrogance and misbehavior hereabouts, about roads and landslides, about the historic failure of county and HMB politicians to stick up for the citizens of the coastside during Caltrans shenanigans, and about how things are done elsewhere—the priorities in place where an agency (usually not District 4!) can’t get away with spinning everything for its own money-grubbing bureaucratic benefit.

Until most coastsiders wake up and figure out how to pressure their politicians into doing what is best for the citizens they supposedly represent, we’ll continue to be less than pawns in the games outsiders play.

Carl May

It sounds like Mr. May and Mr. Steger are experts in the field of road construction. Maybe Caltrans should hire them to manage the next slide outage. Of course we should listen to Caltrans concerning when it should be opened since they are very knowledgable in this area, and are actually responsible for making it safe for folks to travel on.

“So can anyone pin a precise time window on “fully open during regular commute hours?” 4 to 10 am?  5 to 9 am?  And in the evenings too?  It’d be very helpful to know for sure.”

From HMB coastside chambers of commerce:

To facilitate the remainder of the repair work, single lane closures and / or traffic control will be necessary on an as needed basis, but not during commute hours. This means no lane closures during the following hours:

Monday thru Friday 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM
Monday thru Thursday 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Friday 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Single lane closures will not be implemented at weekends unless absolutely necessary.

Paranoid or Pollyanna, its a lose lose for Caltrans. If the road had opened in a month they’d be accused of being a bunch of hacks. If they had opened in late October they’d be accused of sandbagging it & milking the contract.

There’s never a lack of subtext if you’re willing to look for it. I actually thought that all the photos of the repair work were really staged on a Hollywood soundstage. In fact there was one photo that looked like all the signs and construction equipment had text wriiten in Korean- meaning these were photos were actually from a Korean construction site off the China Sea and not Devil’s Slide.

Either way CalTrans is facing massive lay-offs this fall- seems someone figured out how to make a broom stand up on its own.

Thanks to CalTrans for getting it open. Their’s is a thankless job held in contempt by the people who drive on the roads they repair.

Thursday am,
Re: Aug. 3 DS Block Party
As few people have responded it appears that motivation to get together to toast the opening and say thank you to CalTrans workers is minimal.  Unfortunate.  Much easier to complain….
L

Carl May states “You are letting them know the impacts on you were not all that trying, thanks to your ready willingness to forgive, forget, and party because a bad situation imposed on you wasn’t worse.”

Considering all the e-mails and calls to Caltrans as well as to HMB City Council, I hardly think that they are not aware of how trying this ordeal has been.  With respect to the “willingness to forgive, forget and party”, this behavior is what makes America, meaning the USA, as Great as it is.  Just look at whats going on in the Middle East, Balkans, Caucusus..etc…etc.  The inability of these populations to forgive and forget has caused and continues to cause considerable human suffering. It would also appear that the refusal to forgive and forget is a trademark of the radical Muslims, we are referred to as Crusaders after all.  So Carl, considering your attitude perhaps a move to The Afghan/Pakistan border might be in order.

Brent “Just Another Sheeple” MacQueen

Ah, yes, capitulation to heavy-handed authority, even when the facts repeatedly show that authority to be wrong. Another great, run-it-up-the-flagpole American trait. Gee, let’s crawl on our knees to the “public servants” amplifying and prolonging our problems. Surely they’ll see our pain.

From the early days after the slide went out this time, I stated coastsiders would be a big part of the problem due to the cowtowing to the agencies and politicians playing their manipulative games and acting in their self-interest rather than providing oversight and services the public is paying them to provide.

It’s easy to predict how stuck-in-the-mud coastsiders will behave because they repeat themselves so often. Enjoy the (lost) wages of your gullibility and compliance and your ever-worsening surroundings.

Carl May

Capitulation??? Cowtowing to the agencies???? I think those of us south of hwy92, such as myself, did a pretty good job of controlling the heavy-handed authorities with respect to preventing the traffic control light on the northbound access to hwy92 being activated.

Brent “geuss I’m not a sheeple after all” MacQueen

Carl,

If this whole ordeal was handled so badly please take them to court I would have liked the slide opened earlier or never closed at all. Wait a minute take mother nature to court for having it rain too much then sub litigate caltrans as a conspirator to the slide and get us all of our tax dollars back. If any lawyer is willing to take the case I will put some money up for the legal fund.

-Matt

Matt,

I’ve been following these posts since the beginning and I am thoroughly disappointed by the “Nattering Nabobs of Negativism”.

They’ll go to their graves having never said anything good or positive about CalTrans. How sad.

John Lynch

John,

I could not agree more; any situation can be looked at from the side lines and be judged poorly. It has been sad to see here on “Coastsider” just how many people have a bad word to say about anything and anyone. I am all for constructive criticism but out and out bashing of a concept idea or person is not needed. Granted my statement above was not in the best light by any standard, but calling the local population uniformed boobs, the local government manipulative and Caltrans liars just really got my goat.

Totally agree with you both Matt and John. Unfortunately, we must live here on the coast with such folks.

“Ah, yes, capitulation to heavy-handed authority, even when the facts repeatedly show that authority to be wrong.”

What are the facts Carl?  Where might I find them?  Could you maybe type a few succinct sentences spelling them out instead of insulting your fellow coastsiders?  I’m new to the area and I’d be interested in reading up on these facts.  I try to keep an open mind, and if there’s any real evidence of overt Caltrans graft, or stories of roads with similar geology that have undergone similar repairs and have opened sooner, I could be persuaded that everyone’s a sucker but Carl May and a few select other enlightened ones.

Still, the tone and tenor of Carl May’s comments remind me of a fella from an April meeting at the hospital in Moss Beach, who apparently felt that there was nothing wrong at all with Devil’s Slide, and that it should have remained open continuously to anyone tuff enuff to drive it, maybe with a few minor touch-ups and resurfacings here and there.  Initially the angry fella asked a mildly dopey question wondering why blasting rock should be any different than avalanche control in the Sierra, but that was okay, not everyone understands the differences between loose rock and layered fresh snow.  But when Caltrans showed a slide of a boulder weighing at least a ton in the middle of the road, the fella scoffed as if it was nothing – nothing! – and said he could clear that himself.  Ummm, yeah, and what if it or even a rock one tenth of that size fell on his car?  Or his head?  In that case I guess he’d have to walk around all flat and pancaked for a while, like in the cartoons, before popping back up.  Or maybe as the saying goes, “No brain, no headache.”

If the shoe fits…

Uninformed and inexperienced people are welcome to the hardships they bring on themselves. It’s so much easier to cave in to those manufacturing consent than to insist on the obvious and existing ways of doing things better that are in practice elsewhere. My only gripe is that I’m stuck in the same sinking boat built partly with their compliance.

It’s an interesting exercise to estimate for the past three months the total hours lost by people in traffic; the extra gas burned; the extra pollution produced; the expense to local government by trying to adapt in small ways; the expense of the little diversions of the lights, altered lanes, and lighted signs supposed to help pacify drivers by making them think something was being done about their situation; and so on. A lot of harm is done by those who would rather cave to lies and manipulations rather than than learn and advocate accordingly.

Carl May

Newt—

If you look at the history of the slide and how often the road gives out etc.  You will come to realize we have been duped as Carl suggests.

The worst of the slides to occur happen in 1983 when the road fell about 5 feet and hwy 1 south of the slide washed out in 2 sections of about 50 yards each.  What was most remarkable was that the repairs done then were complete in about 80 days, or less than half the time it took Caltrans to fix the road this time.  To put in into perspective the roadbed this time around fell about 6 inches not the 5 plus feet we saw in 1983. 

Furthermore, the slide gives out in a certain pattern when certain conditions arise.  Anytime we see more than 9 inches of rain in less than 30 days the slide is at risk, fortunatly this only happens about once every ten years or so.

If Caltrans was really more concerned about opening the road than trying to accumulate Federal Dollars to fund the repair they would have done more work during the first 40 days when effectivly no repairs took place.  Had they used the first 40 days the road would have been opened in time for the 4th of July.

When the slide first went out and there appeared to be no work taking place i called Sartipi and Cunliffe and spoke to them about the history of the road.  Since both of them are newcomers to the area, like yourself, i tried to educate them on the slide history but they didn’t care, and had their own agenda.  All they kept repeating was this was worse than any other slide they have had on the road.  (I find that hard to beleive).  Mr. Cunliffe then called me a few days later to proudly exclaim they had a repair plan and it would fix the slide for the next 15 years!!!!  That’s just great considering the slide needs to be “shored up” for only the next 5 yrs.

You tell me what came first the money or the plan to fix the slide???

Newt—

If you look at the history of the slide and how often the road gives out etc.  You will come to realize we have been duped as Carl suggests.

The worst of the slides to occur happen in 1983 when the road fell about 5 feet and hwy 1 south of the slide washed out in 2 sections of about 50 yards each.  What was most remarkable was that the repairs done then were complete in about 80 days, or less than half the time it took Caltrans to fix the road this time.  To put in into perspective the roadbed this time around fell about 6 inches not the 5 plus feet we saw in 1983. 

Furthermore, the slide gives out in a certain pattern when certain conditions arise.  Anytime we see more than 9 inches of rain in less than 30 days the slide is at risk, fortunatly this only happens about once every ten years or so.

If Caltrans was really more concerned about opening the road than trying to accumulate Federal Dollars to fund the repair they would have done more work during the first 40 days when effectivly no repairs took place.  Had they used the first 40 days the road would have been opened in time for the 4th of July.

When the slide first went out and there appeared to be no work taking place i called Sartipi and Cunliffe and spoke to them about the history of the road.  Since both of them are newcomers to the area, like yourself, i tried to educate them on the slide history but they didn’t care, and had their own agenda.  All they kept repeating was this was worse than any other slide they have had on the road.  (I find that hard to beleive).  Mr. Cunliffe then called me a few days later to proudly exclaim they had a repair plan and it would fix the slide for the next 15 years!!!!  That’s just great considering the slide needs to be “shored up” for only the next 5 yrs.

You tell me what came first the money or the plan to fix the slide???

Carl,
This is not a soapbox, this is a blog.  Please CHEER UP and stop trying to convince everyone that we’re lemmings.  We’ve all suffered.  We all wish it didn’t happen or was over sooner.  And I’m even willing to consider that perhaps there is some truth deep within your anger at Caltrans. 

HOWEVER, I’m not sure why you feel the need to carry the burden of insulting your neighbors and proving them all ignorant to some truth that only you are enlightened enough to realize.  Do you MIND if we’re happy about something without allowing alleged “lies and manipulations” to more than offset our relief and gratitude?

If you are going to to continue to respond on this website, try to channel your desire to censure your neighbors with specific responses to Newton’s questions above. 

Anita

 

First, I have given extensive information leading to the “answers” to Newton’s questions over the months. I realize he is new to the coast, but one thing he needs to learn is that there are thousands of pages on Devil’s Slide if one includes all the shenanigans Caltrans has tried to pull (and is still pulling) in the name of addressing the very occasional outage of the highway on the landslide. And to understand those thousands of pages, one needs to get into the nature of landslides and how engineers and scientists deal with them when they involve roads.

If you missed previous references, try, at least, to conduct your own investigation of how road problems caused by landslides are addressed elsewhere in northern California and Oregon coastal counties. Perhaps start with the Confusion Hill Slide complex on 101 and see where it leads you. Or are you suggesting that I hold the hand of every person unable to look up the extensive material on the geologic nature of landslides, the building of roads across landslides and the repair of roads where landslides disrupt them, the extensive history (including volumes of misrepresentations by Caltrans) of the Devil’s Slide Bypass freeway which exposed Caltrans’s ingrained institutional behavior on our coastside during most administrations, the doggedness (especially by citizens of Half Moon Bay living many miles away) of many in refusing to look at observable facts and sentence the rest of us to the hardships that results from their support of governmental and bureaucratic miscreants, and so on through the sorry history of the shafting of the midcoast by Caltrans and their governmental cronies? Does the Half Moon Bay Library still have the several DEIR’s, supplementary DEIR’s, EIS’s, etc., complete with the comments of independent experts from the several rounds of the bypass and, more recently, the twin tunnels?

Sorry. Pollyannas don’t get off my hook just because this road outage wasn’t as bad as it might have been with a longer (unnecessary) closure, as was the case in the mid-90’s. The self-congratulatory ceremonies tomorrow (Aug. 3) are just the sort of farce that gives credence to all of us who have been pointing out the malfeasance. Why do you suppose they are “invitation only”?

Thanking Caltrans only encourages what might be called the imperious behavior of District 4 leaders around here and approves the failure of our county politicians to get after the problem in an effective manner as soon as it occurred. Hold their feet to the fire and you might get a better result next time. Make the local/county/state politicians and Caltrans realize they will always look bad with outages on Devil’s Slide and other midcoast roads until they make their *first* priority the same as those responsible for roads elsewhere: get traffic moving again!