Saturday morning, November 16, 2013 at approximately 4:25 a.m. the first vehicles drove through the new, two-lane, 3300-foot-long Fourth Bore of the Caldecott Tunnel. The long-planned $417 million project provides congestion relief to residents and workers in the East Bay, and brings to an end the daily process of switching the traffic direction of the third bore to accommodate travel between Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
The new Fourth Bore features wide travel lanes, roadway shoulders, bright lighting, emergency exits along the length of the tunnel, and state-of-the-art fire and life safety systems. The tunnel’s incident detection and response systems underwent extensive testing before Caltrans began the traffic realignment needed for the new State Route 24 lane configuration utilizing the Fourth Bore.
With the Fourth Bore’s excavation, façade, and soundwalls completed, state-of-the-art fire and life safety systems were then installed and tested. These systems allow trained professionals to monitor and respond to threats inside the tunnel, including detecting and suppressing fires and other hazards, and providing real-time information to help motorists safely exit in an emergency. Learn more about these tunnel systems by downloading our recent Fact Sheet.
These systems will be monitored and controlled at the new Operations and Maintenance Control (OMC) building outside the tunnel. Safety professionals stationed there will be able to monitor all four Caldecott Tunnel bores beginning in late 2013, as well as the Webster-Posey Tubes. In the future, OMC building staff will also be able to monitor safety and traffic at other Caltrans tunnels throughout the Bay Area, including Presidio Parkway and Devil’s Slide.
Dr. Bhaskar Thapa, a lead tunnel designer of the Fourth Bore, passed away in June 2013. Dr. Thapa played a critical role on the Caldecott Fourth Bore Project during his eight-year involvement — from design through excavation. Dr. Thapa’s wife, Sumira, and two sons, Barune and Sidhant, attended the Fourth Bore’s ribbon cutting ceremony on November 15, 2013, when he was formally recognized for his significant contributions to the project. His family received a standing ovation from the 250 guests who were present.
Construction Activities Update: November 2013
The Fourth Bore’s state-of-the-art tunnel systems have been tested to ensure that incidents inside the tunnel, such as a car accident or fire, are detected and suppressed rapidly. Fire drills, including emergency responder preparedness exercises, were successfully completed the week of November 11th. Learn more about the tunnel’s life safety systems in the recent Fact Sheet (PDF).