Fourth Bore Lore About to End

It's one of those "believe it when I see it" events

This Friday, an event that is decades in the making is scheduled to place in the East Bay.

It's something of planning lore that has been dangling in the front of Highway 24 drivers for decades.

We are talking about the fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel.

Caltrans says it will hold a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off its long awaited construction this Friday at 11 a.m.

The final hurdle for the project was cleared last Friday.

Jan. 15 marked the end of the required 55-day waiting period after Caltrans awarded the construction contract to Sylmar-based construction firm Tutor-Saliba, project spokesman Jeff Weiss said.

The four-year project will add a fourth bore to the busy tunnel, which connects Oakland and Contra Costa County via state Highway 24. The third bore was added to the Depression-era tunnel in 1964, and was the last state highway tunnel built in California until work began on the Devil's Slide tunnel project in September 2007.

Adding a two-lane, 3,390-foot bore will eliminate the need for the existing central bore to alternate between westbound and eastbound traffic  for the morning and evening rush hour.

Motorists should notice changes almost immediately as crews start "clearing and grubbing" the brush in the construction areas surrounding the  proposed portals, Weiss said.

Crews will then set up their staging areas and construct a temporary sound wall at the west portal, Weiss said.

The noise buffering is part of a settlement with a consortium of community groups known as the Caldecott Fourth Bore Coalition that sued  Caltrans in 2007 over environmental concerns related to the project. The  agency also agreed to a number of other measures, including using low-sulfur diesel fuel to power equipment.

The actual boring of the tunnel will cost about $215 million of the project's $420 million total cost, Weiss said.

The groundbreaking ceremony will take place at the Gateway Loop.

For people who have lived in the Bay Area, this event will be simply amazing to see.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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