That *other* tunnel

Got a call the other day from a guy wondering if I’d heard about the plan to build a tunnel beneath the Delta.

Uh, yeah, I said.

He wanted to know how much it would cost to burrow beneath the Sacramento River. I told him that wasn’t what the governor had in mind.

We talked past each other for a few minutes. Then I realized he was talking about a plan to improve Highway 12 through Rio Vista — perhaps building a twin-bore tunnel beneath the river, replacing the existing bridge.

The bridge has limited clearance, posing a navigation hazard for ships. And Highway 12 through Rio Vista is a narrow ribbon that is already near capacity and cannot handle future growth. Not to mention the long delays which motorists face — up to 25 minutes — when the bridges raises for ship passage.

Bottom line: The highway needs to be four lanes through town and across, or beneath, the river, according to this preliminary report.

A number of alternatives have been proposed, but the project tunnel cost would be $1.1 billion.

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  • Blog Author

    Alex Breitler

    A native of Benicia, he lives in Stockton with his wife, Ann, who forces him to go backpacking in the Sierra Nevada or Trinity Alps at every opportunity. He has been writing mostly about natural resources since 2003, first in Redding and now in ... Read Full
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