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Devil’s Slide tunnels almost, but not quite, ready to open

Monday, February 25, 2013

The long-delayed $439 million Devil’s Slide tunnels on Highway 1 15 miles south of San Francisco appear finally to be about to open. AP says the two-mile-long tunnels, the first tunnels to be built in California in 50 years, are undergoing final safety tests. (That’s a construction rendering, pictured.)

They will solve maybe Caltrans’ nastiest trouble spot on the coastal highway. The road at Devil’s Slide has been prone to closure from mud slides since it was built in 1937. And lest you wonder how the state could afford it during a period of budget austerity—the tunnels were paid for with federal emergency funds. An excerpt:

The tunnels, the first in the U.S. designed and built with an Austrian technique, have a Euro-glossiness to them, with white, glistening walls and shiny pipes gliding down a rounded ceiling. There's a bit of theme park vibe as well, with retaining walls and fake boulders at the entrance sculpted by the man who shaped and molded Disneyland's Indiana Jones ride.

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