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{{Infobox tunnel
name = Caldecott Tunnel
image = Caldecott1.png
caption = The Caldecott Tunnel, western end
line =
location = Oakland, Californiamarker
coordinates =
route = California State Highway 24, William Byron Rumford Freeway
status =
start =
end =
startwork =
open = 1937 (Bore 1 and 2}
1964 (Bore 3)
close =
owner =
operator =
character =
length = 3,610 feet (1,100 m) (Bore 1 and 2)
3,771 feet (1,149 m) (Bore 3)
lanes = 2 per each bore
speed =
hielevation =
height =
width =
grade =}}

The Caldecott Tunnel is a three bore highway tunnel in Oakland, Californiamarker. The east-west tunnel is signed as a part of State Route 24, which is also known as the William Byron Rumford Freeway from Interstate 580 to Walnut Creek, and connects Oakland to communities in Contra Costa Countymarker, through the Berkeley Hillsmarker. The tunnel is named after Thomas E. Caldecott (1878-1951), mayor of Berkeleymarker from 1930-1932, member of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors 1933-1945, and president of Joint Highway District 13, which built the first two bores.

Bore 1 (the southernmost bore) and Bore 2 were completed in 1937 and are each 3,610 feet (1,100 m) long and carry two lanes of traffic. Bore 3 (the northernmost bore), built in 1964, is 3,771 feet (1,149 m) in length, and also carries two traffic lanes.

The middle bore (Bore 2) can be shifted to accommodate heavy traffic. Generally, it carries westbound traffic from about midnight to noon and eastbound traffic from about noon to midnight.

A fourth bore is planned, and estimates indicate construction might begin in Nov-Dec 2009. Construction of the fourth bore is estimated at $400 million, of which the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will provide $280 million.


In the 19th century, traffic over the Berkeley Hillsmarker in this area went up Harwood Canyon, now known as Claremont Canyon (behind the Claremont Hotel). The road leading up the canyon from the west was initially called Harwood's Road, later changed to Telegraph Road, and finally, Claremont. The road on the other side of the hills was, and remains Fish Ranch Road. An inn once existed at the summit.

The idea of a tunnel through the hills began as early as 1860. In that year, the idea was proposed and rejected by the citizens of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. It was revived in 1871 with a proposal which described a route running from the end of Broadway, similar to the actual routing of today's Caldecott Tunnel although it isn't clear from the description exactly which canyon was being referred to. The proposed tunnel would be only some 500 feet long and would have its outlet in the San Pablo Creek watershed with a road leading into Lafayette. A franchise was granted to a group of developers who passed the franchise onto another group. The proposal languished until the turn of the century.

In 1903, a tunnel was finally built above the present location of the Caldecott Tunnel, in the next canyon south of Claremont Canyon. This tunnel was approached by a new road dubbed "Tunnel Road" which started at the top of Ashby Avenue in Berkeleymarker.

In 1929, construction of the first two bores of the Caldecott Tunnel began. They were completed in 1937, and were originally known as the Broadway Low Level Tunnel as the approach was from the top of Broadway in Oakland, and was below the portal of the old tunnel. However, access from Ashby Avenue was retained as it was designated the connecting thoroughfare from the Eastshore Highway (now Freeway) and the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridgemarker, and dubbed State Highway 24. The approach to the east portal on the other side of the Berkeley Hills was via Mount Diablo Blvd., also at that time part of State Highway 24.

The third bore was opened in 1964. In the late 1960s, the Grove-Shafter Freeway was completed and replaced Broadway as the main access route to the Caldecott Tunnel from Oakland as well as replacing Ashby as the principal connector for traffic coming from San Francisco. Ashby Avenue and Tunnel Road were redesignated State Highway 13 and aligned with the new Warren Freeway through the Montclair District of Oakland. The Grove-Shafter Freeway was then designated State Highway 24.

In 1982, an accident involving a gasoline truck in the north bore set off the Caldecott Tunnel firemarker. The accident caused major damage, and the bore was closed to traffic while repairs were made. During the fire, the tunnel acted as a natural chimney venting the smoke, flames and heat toward the east side entrance to the tunnel. The accident and fire killed seven people. It occurred shortly after midnight when there were few cars in the tunnel. If it had occurred during normal commute hours, hundreds could have died. As a result of the fire, it is now illegal to transport hazardous material in a tank truck through the tunnel except between the light traffic hours of 3:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.

In 1991, the box canyon just to the north of the Caldecott Tunnel was the site of the origin of a catastrophic Oakland firestormmarker. The fire spread quickly from the canyon down both sides of the west portal of the tunnel on its way to killing 25 and destroying over three thousand homes, apartments and condominiums.

In 2000, the California Department of Transportation began planning the possibility of a fourth bore, due to increased traffic along the route.

The Caldecott Tunnel was designated a City of Oakland Landmark in 1980, and received a Preservation Award from the Art Deco Society of California in 1993.

On February 28, 2007, the California Transportation Commission approved the final funding needed to build the fourth bore.

On July 26, 2007, A car broke out into flames and 2 of the 3 bores were closed down.

Weather phenomena

Weather conditions can vary greatly from one end of the tunnel to the other. In summer, for example, motorists may enter the tunnel from the east where it is sunny and warm, and emerge on the west end into fog and cold. In winter, during spells of inland tule fog, the reverse can occur.

In popular culture

"Caldecott Tunnel" is the name of a song by the band Something Corporate. The tunnel also served as a film location for a chase scene in the movie THX 1138.

See also

External links


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