"It's shovel ready. So let's start shoveling."
Those are the words of the Oakland Tribune editorial board in anticipation of today's Caldecott Tunnel construction kick-off in California's Bay Area. The long-awaited Fourth Bore Project was made possible by funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
I said 2010 promised more and larger Recovery Act projects featuring more jobs.
Well, the new Caldecott bore--construction-speak for an additional tube--is the single largest investment of Recovery Act transportation funds yet.
As Deputy Secretary John Porcari said at the kick-off event today:
"Embarking on a major project that will tunnel through the Berkeley Hills will not only create good paying jobs for workers, but it will also greatly improve the quality of life for East Bay residents and thousands of daily commuters. We are pleased to add to the nearly 24,000 miles of transportation infrastructure repaired and upgraded by the Obama Administration's stimulus."
And to make it easier for you to see the scale of DOT's more than 12,000 Recovery Act investments, please check out our interactive map.
The existing three tunnels on California's SR 24, which give drivers a total of six lanes, are inadequate for the heavy volume of Bay Area traffic each day. The route serves an estimated 160,000 drivers daily. When completed in 2013, the fourth bore will make possible four lanes in each direction. Drivers will no longer have to slog through congestion created by a merge of four lanes into two.
The tunnel is well-traveled by commuters in and around Oakland and Contra Costa County. But it is also a key route for those traveling between the San Francisco area and Napa, Sonoma, and Solano Counties.
- Alleviating congestion and its associated pollution for 160,000 vehicles every day.
- Adding quality jobs through 2013.
- Allowing easier access to the businesses whose customers must use the tunnel.
And, as the Tribune made clear: "This project would have stagnated if not for $197 million of federal economic stimulus funds"
That is the stimulus working.