Supervisors Lempert and Barrales, excited by the quality and results of Woodward Clyde's tunnel study, announced today their endorsement of Measure T (the tunnel initiative) and their plans for a November meeting to lay the groundwork to ensure that a tunnel is funded and built.
"When the panel of technical experts unanimously recommended a tunnel over a year ago," they explained, "we fought to obtain a detailed, quality study to ensure that the public receive all the information needed to evaluate the options. Now that the independent tunnel study indicates that the tunnel alternative is geologically desirable, safe and as cheap as the bypass option, we put our full support and efforts behind Measure T and the tunnel."
Supervisors Lempert and Barrales explained that step one was obtaining the information necessary to enable the public and their elected officials to make a knowledgeable, informed decision about the best solution for the Devil's Slide problem. Step two is making that solution a reality. "Determining that the tunnel is the best solution for Devil's Slide is only the beginning," the two supervisors stated. "We must all work together to expedite the approval and construction of a tunnel."
Supervisors Lempert and Barrales are committed to not only "think tunnel" but to build a tunnel now. The meeting in November, shortly after the election, will launch the effort to ensure funding for the project and to expedite the environmental review and permitting process for the tunnel. Local state and federal elected officials, the state (CalTrans) and federal (FHWA) agencies, and local community groups already have agreed to participate in the November meeting.
Supervisors Lempert and Barrales began their efforts to resolve the Devil's Slide problem in January 1995. At that time the two supervisors organized a panel of technical experts to evaluate the geological condition of Devil's Slide. The independent panel unanimously recommended a tunnel as the safest and most reliable permanent solution. After over a year of battling with the State's transportation agency, Supervisors Lempert and Barrales, with the support of the full Board of Supervisors and a written request from the Federal Highway Administration, managed to compel CalTrans to agree to a thorough, independent tunnel study to determine the viability and cost of a tunnel at Devil's Slide. Last week, the tunnel consultant issued its report stating that a tunnel is a reasonable, prudent solution for the Devil's Slide problem with a projected cost similar to that of the proposed Martini Creek bypass option.
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