Striking a balance between a region’s scenic beauty and the need for infrastructural growth is always going to be a challenge. Great, sprawling highways can connect industries in different cities but can wreak havoc on the countryside’s natural being and even its ecosystem. This hasn’t been quite the same problem for The Devil’s Slide Tunnel is California, a new highway tunnel that opened earlier this year.
A Devil’s Slide is an unstable land formation on the coast with steep slopes and the area can be prone to frequent landslides. This particular peninsula is located between Pacifica and Montara, California. California’s State Route 1 runs along the coast and has endured problems in the past relating to the Devil’s Slide, including the highway being closed in 2006 for a day after cracks emerged along the road due to its gradual sinking into the ocean. Frequent weather storms closed the road too as it was simply too dangerous and this left many people, particularly commuters, stranded and forced to find new, ultimately longer and costly ways to get around.
The $439 million tunnel development is intended to prevent road closures, protected from the elements, all the while being hidden from the view of the region’s natural beauty.
There are in fact two tunnels, southbound and northbound, each stretch well over 4,000 feet long. There 32 jet fans inside the tunnels as well as over a thousand high pressure sodium-vapor lights. With all of this, the tunnels also come with dozens of safety exits and emergency facilities.