Board of Supervisors
County of San Mateo
October 18, 1995

Fred Hempel
Federal Highway Administration
980 Ninth Street, Suite 400
Sacramento, CA 95814-2724

RE: Devil's Slide Project Reevaluation

Dear Mr. Hempel:

Having lived with the controversy over the solution for Devil's Slide for many years, the San Mateo populace deserves a solution that settles this controversial issue with certainty and finality. In light of the recent decision of the Federal Highway Administration to address the issue of the tunnel alternative in the reevaluation, it is important that procedures be established for this study that can assure everyone that this concepts has been appropriately considered in a manner that will provide assurance and certitude. While the following proposal may anticipate a broader study or different procedures that are presently anticipated by FHWA, the Board has unanimously approved this letter recommending the following for examination of the tunnel alternative:

1. The content of the study should include sufficient information to permit a resolution to all outstanding concerns and issues related to the tunnel, including the following:

a. The geological and engineering viability of a tunnel for the site;

b. The design, size and specifications for the type of tunnel required to satisfy FHWA safety standards including a detailed discussion of what factors are considered in determining the appropriate tunnel for the site (e.g., would a single-bore, 46 feet wide tunnel as suggested by Shank/Balfour Beatty and James Robbers, CalTrans Chief of the Division of Structures, meet those requirements?)

c. The time required to design and construct the appropriate tunnel for the site;

d. The permitting process for approving a tunnel option and the time to complete that process;

e. The cost of designing and building the different tunnel options that would satisfy FHWA safety standards (including the cost based upon a design-build contract);

f. The annual cost to maintain the tunnel option(s) suggested (both short-term and long-term); and

g. The benefits and disadvantages of a tunnel at Devil's Slide considering at least safety, cost , speed of design/construction/permitting and environmental effects.

2. The selection process should include the approval or selection of the chosen firm by the Dean of the Engineering School at Stanford and UC Berkeley or their designee.

3. The hiring of an independent, reputable engineering firm, with recent experience in the design and construction of tunnels to address the viability of a tunnel. The independence and expertise of the firm, essential to provide a firm resolution to this controversy, can be assured by hiring a firm which has the following qualifications:
a. Working knowledge of state of the art tunneling technology, including familiarity with recent highway tunnel projects with a project manager that has experience in highway tunnel design;

b. Has worked on the design of highway tunnel;

c. Has no prior employment contract or consultation history with CalTrans and agrees to no future contract for or profit from any highway project at Devil's Slide;

d. Has worked with Federal Highway Administration and is familiar with FHWA standards and requirements.

4. A committee of four members, one appointed by the Half Moon Bay City Council, one by the Pacifica City Council, and two by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, should be established to be kept apprised of the study's progress and to consult with and advise the Federal Highway Administration, CalTrans, and the study consultant to ensure that the study is impartial, complete and capable of receiving broad public acceptance.

Working as partners in determining a solution for this problem, we can establish a process and an evaluation that will provide a finality that will serve not only the interests of the Federal Highway Administration, but, most importantly, the citizens of our County who will live with the solution.

Very truly yours,

Ted Lempert, President, Board of Supervisors
Ruben Barrales, Supervisor
Mary Griffin, Supervisor
Tom Heuning, Supervisor
Michael Nevin, Supervisor

cc: Joe Brown, CalTrans
Tony Caserta, Federal Highway Administration, Washington DC