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.