First Weekday Commute with New Caldecott Fourth Bore Goes Smoothly

November 18, 2013 17:00 pm · 15 comments


It was a smooth ride for commuters this morning on the first weekday since the Caldecott Tunnel’s fourth bore opened over the weekend.

The new bore opened shortly before 4:30 a.m. Saturday, and will ease traffic congestion for the average 160,000 commuters who travel between Oakland and Orinda every day, Caltrans spokeswoman Ivy Morrison said.

For the past 50 years, Caltrans has manually reversed the flow of traffic traveling through the middle bore twice a day, meaning only one bore was open to motorists traveling in the off-peak direction.

With the addition of the fourth bore, motorists traveling in the off-peak direction can cut about 10 minutes off of their trips, Morrison said.

This morning, with the exception of a fender-bender, traffic was “remarkably smooth” through the Caldecott Tunnel, Morrison said.

The fourth bore, which accommodates motorists traveling west on state Highway 24, has a higher clearance and features 19 jet fans installed on the ceiling to remove exhaust fumes and smoke in the event of a fire, she said.

The other three bores have fans that are installed in the ceiling but not exposed, Morrison said.

Unlike the other tunnels, the fourth bore has a 10-foot shoulder for motorists with car trouble or emergency vehicles needing access to accidents.

In the event of a serious incident, there are signs inside the tunnel that would direct commuters to seven cross passages between bores 3 and 4, according to Caltrans.

The escape routes are pressurized to keep smoke away, Morrisson said.

California Highway Patrol Officer Daniel Hill said there were no major incidents at the Caldecott Tunnel this morning.

Hill said he drove through the fourth bore this morning and noticed some drivers made a few last-minute lane changes.

While many people were slowing down to look at the new bore, there wasn’t as much rubbernecking as when the Bay Bridge’s new eastern span opened, he said.

The $417 million project was funded through federal stimulus money in addition to money from Measure J in Contra Costa County, approved by voters in 2004; Bay Area bridge toll revenue; and Proposition 1B, a state transportation bond approved by voters in 2006.

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Schmee November 18, 2013 at 5:14 PM

I heard it was boring. Ohhhhhhh!!!!

Will we get carpool(carpal)tunnel syndrome in here? November 18, 2013 at 5:53 PM


Matt The Brat November 18, 2013 at 6:27 PM

‘drove through about 3 AM this morning at 90 MPH. The pavement is relatively smooth. We’ll shoot for a 120 mph next time… in the Gallardo. Thanks sugar mum!

Ven Xeter November 18, 2013 at 7:34 PM

Nice wide luxury lanes in the new bore. So far looks like a job well done.

@ Matt the Brat. Hoping to be the first fatality in the tunnel? November 18, 2013 at 9:26 PM

You sound like quite a guy.

Magic Mike November 18, 2013 at 9:51 PM

Drove through at 630am at 55MPH. The pave felt like any other road Next time I’ll shoot for 60MPH….in the work truck….Your a Douche Bag…

Matt The Brat November 18, 2013 at 9:59 PM

Nope. High performance driving schools, frequent participant at Willow Springs, track time at Laguna Seca and Sears Point. I don’t “speed”, a relative term, when others are around. That wouldn’t be safe.

There was no one around at 3 AM and no warnings sounded from the radar systems so the Maranello got to stretch its legs for a little bit. Try it some time.

Now that former Oakland Raider who crashed his BMW into the back of a big rig and then took out the CRV in the other direction… that’s plain idiotic and he payed dearly.

KEN A. Aka. ( the Pakistani ) November 18, 2013 at 10:08 PM

Now that sounds like fun. but I’m way to uptight for that. Plus I’m like 5’5. I couldn’t even reach the clutch… life sucks…..bummer….

D-SHOT November 18, 2013 at 10:14 PM

I want to be cool like that too….but I’m not….

Our late friend, Radar, arranged a tour November 18, 2013 at 11:24 PM

of the tunnel system, several years back. We saw how the huge fans work, how the workers get from one side to the other, how the (former) pop-up system worked, etc. There’s a lot more to the system than just the tunnel you see when driving through. Of course, since 9-11, there are no more tours, because of security concerns, but it was fun while it lasted. Thanks Radar.

The4thBore November 19, 2013 at 11:05 AM

Drive safe here, i’m new!

Your new favorite Bore

Cici November 19, 2013 at 11:22 AM

I have some advice for the people in charge of the Caldecott tunnels.

PLEASE DO NOT PUT A BUNCH OF DISTRACTING OR FLASHING SIGNS IN THE TUNNELS. People are already distracted on their cell phones enough!

Flashing signs said Drive Safely the first week….ummmmm hello?

Trevbo November 19, 2013 at 3:01 PM

That’s awesome. We built a whole new tunnel to save off-peak commuters 10 whole minutes!

Yay Matt November 19, 2013 at 3:16 PM

Go get’em, tiger!

JRConcord November 19, 2013 at 3:58 PM

Thats ten minutes times 60,000 ( thats 1/2 the # of cars that pass each day) . Thats about 1000 hours a day in travel time saved!

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