The death-defying stretch of Highway 1 connecting Pacifica with Montara is officially no longer open to thrill-seeking teenagers and disgruntled commuters. Beginning this morning, the new Tom Lantos Tunnels are ushering drivers safely through the mountainside instead of along the curving cliffside road famous for treacherous conditions, closures and landslides.
The tunnels have been under construction for over seven years, and mark a victory for conservationists and local activists who opposed an alternate overland route that would cut through McNee Ranch State Park. Incredibly, people have been proposing various bypass strategies since 1958, including a proposal to build the widest two-lane road in the state that was shut down by the Sierra Club in the '80s.
After 55 years, the tunnel is finally a reality. At over 4,000 ft long, it's the second longest road tunnel in California (probably too long to hold your breath the whole way, although we can't be sure until we try it). Bonus news: the old Devil's Slide stretch of road will be converted into a trail for hikers and cyclists.
Here's a relaxing voyage through the tunnel from this morning (skip ahead to 1:25):