A. Measure T is a ballot measure on the November 1996 San Mateo County ballot that would amend the Local Coastal Program (LCP) to specify construction of a vehicular tunnel rather than the Caltrans-endorsed freeway bypass for Hwy. 1 at Devil's Slide. Measure T requires that the tunnel be consistent with the Coastal Act's limit of two lanes and that, for safety reasons, a separate trail for pedestrians and bicycles be provided outside the tunnel.
A. Devil's Slide is a 200 yd. section of unstable land extending above and below Hwy. 1 between Pacifica and Montara. During the winters of 1983 and 1995 Hwy 1 at Devil's Slide slid necessitating lengthy closures of this important route along the coast. Businesses and residents alike suffered as a result of these road closures.
A. The tunnel, less than a mile long, straight and nearly level, would be constructed behind Devil's Slide through San Pedro Mountain. It would have state-of-the-art lighting, ventilation and fire safety systems. The tunnel would prevent the driving hazards of the bypass, protect the quality of life for coastside communities and visitors, and preserve the environment of Montara Mountain and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
A. The proposed freeway bypass is a relic of Caltrans 1960's plan to build a 6-lane freeway down the rural coast of San Mateo County. This freeway would be 4.5 miles long and wider than the six lanes of the Golden Gate bridge. Plans currently include 4 elevated bridges, steep grades (6.5%) and a number of deep cuts and fills up to 275' high. While touted as a 2-lane road with continuous uphill passing lanes and downhill recovery areas, with a roadbed of 79' to 101' the freeway bypass would be the widest 2-lane road in the entire state of California. Given that traffic projections for the year 2015 place no more than 15,000 cars on this road, the additional capacity is both a waste of tax-payers money and an added incentive to increase coastal development.
A. Because it has minimal environmental impact, the most environmentally sensible alternative for Devil's Slide is the tunnel. In contrast, the proposed freeway bypass would bisect McNee Ranch State Park and would gash cuts in Montara Mtn. visible from as far away as Marin County. Construction of the bypass would necessitate the moving of 5.9 million cubic yards of earth creating deep cuts and fills. Extremely difficult to revegetate, these massive cuts could result in landslides and siltation in local creeks and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The affected watershed is the best remaining steelhead salmon habitat in San Mateo County. The habitats of several endangered species would also be impacted by construction of the freeway bypass.
A. The tunnel is safer in two crucial areas. Tunnels perform well and survive earthquake induced ground motion. During the Loma Prieta earthquake, no serious damage occurred to the tunnels throughout the Bay Area (Waldo, Broadway, Caldecott, BART, Posey and Webster tubes). Experts conclude a tunnel would likely be the most reliable access to the coast after a strong local seismic event. In contrast, elevated freeway structures like the Cypress Structure in Oakland and the San Franciso Bay Bridge suffered catastrophic failure. There are four elevated structures included in the proposed freeway bypass design.
The tunnel will be free of the hazards of dense coastal fog because it will be safely below the fog line. In contrast, fog studies show the steep and winding upper reaches of the freeway bypass route over Montara Mtn. are enshrouded in fog 53% of the time during peak morning and evening rush hours.
A. While actual construction time appears to be equivalent, the tunnel will be completed sooner because it is the less damaging solution. Because the tunnel has minimal environmental impact the environmental permitting process will be less complicated and speedy. The bypass, in contrast, faces a whole new environmental permitting process because it impacts the habitats of several newly listed threatened or endangered species and because the past EIR (Environmental Impact Report) is stale. Permitting for the bypass is further complicated by the fact that there is now a well documented, less damaging and practicable alternative--the tunnel.
A. Engineering experts estimate that the tunnel and the freeway bypass are comparable in dollar costs. However, environmental, recreational and community savings make the tunnel the most cost-effective use of our tax dollars. With the tunnel we save Montara Mtn, McNee Ranch State Park, our unique coastal communities and our spectacular coastal vistas.
A. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has already spent $2.6 million on the tunnel in the form of the tunnel study. This is a clear indication that a tunnel is not only feasible but fundable too. The tunnel has the backing of almost 35,000 San Mateo County voters who believe we deserve our share of emergency funds to solve the Devil's Slide problem now. This message is heard loud and clear on the local, state and federal levels and if Measure T is enacted the funding will surely follow the will of the people.
A. No. Only $53 million in federal emergency funds have been set aside for this project. The most current estimate of the freeway bypass cost is $91 million as shown in the June 1995 Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. This cost estimate will skyrocket when Caltrans is forced to update bypass designs to accommodate new seismic standards and to include new bridges and other environmental mitigation costs. There is no guarantee these additional funds will be made available for the bypass, an unpopular project that has been rife with deception and conflict for years.
A. No. As stated in the County Council's impartial analysis of Measure T, "The responsibility and authority to provide funding for improvements to State Route 1 lies with State and Federal agencies, and the responsibility and authority to maintain and repair State Route 1 lies with the State through the California Department of Transportation."
A. No. We are currently locked into one and only one solution for Devil's Slide--the freeway bypass. See Section 2.50b of the current LCP ..."On Route 1, limit Phase 1 improvements to (1) Construction of a two lane bypass with slow vehicle lanes around Devil's Slide". With Measure T, the citizens of San Mateo County have a choice and a voice in the future of our coast. Vote YES for the tunnel or vote NO and get the freeway bypass, either way the choice is ours for the first time in 30 years.
A. A majority of the Half Moon Bay and Pacifica City Council members, and Mid Coast Community Council members endorse the tunnel. The Sierra Club, Save Our Coast, Save Our Shores and numerous other environmental groups support the tunnel. In addition, several large and extremely active citizen groups are currently working to ensure the passage of Measure T (e.g. Citizens for the Tunnel, Pacifica's Tunnel Alternative for Highway 1, Citizen's Alliance for the Tunnel).
A. The real opponents of Measure T are a handful of individuals with a vested interest in the coastal development potential offered by construction of the freeway bypass.