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Friday Slide Show: Signs Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

13 July 2018

This summer the Twin Peaks Tunnel is closed for renovation. Built in 1918, it has enjoyed a hundred years of continual maintenance but it's time for some heavy duty remodeling.

The Twin Peaks Tunnel Improvements include a new drainage system, wall repairs and new tracks. And that requires a 60-day closure with crews working around the clock. For $40 million.

We've been down there a few times with a camera, of course.

At first, we were intrigued with all the heavy (and unusual) machinery. To get into the tunnel, everything has to be loaded onto flatbed trailers that ride on the tracks. Heavy equipment is mounted on a frame driven by the equipment's rubber tires gripping large pinion gears on the frame's wheels.

But after a while shooting all the construction equipment, we turned our eyes to the signage.

The new materials are, themselves, fascinating. The porous drainage pipes let the water in and route it down the pipe. The new tracks rusting in the sun they'll never see again will sit on new rock for the trackbed piled in open hoppers on the street, waiting to be mounted on train wheels. New ties are piled up in stacks as well. See if you can find all that in the slide show.

But after a while shooting the construction equipment, we turned our eyes to the signage.

It tells a different story. One somewhat contradicted by its surroundings.

In 1918 the tunnel opened the western part of San Francisco County to the city on the eastern side of the peninsula. New homes were built and commerce flourished.

So what do you think happened when the tunnel was closed this summer?

The businesses in the West Portal neighborhood have been slammed by a combination or lost parking and inconvenient bus service replacing the three streetcar lines that usually service the business district.

And don't ask commuters about the project either.

What used to take 20 minutes to get downtown can now take nearly two hours. Muni has tried to replace the streetcar lines beyond the tunnel with shuttle buses to the other side of Twin Peaks but most commuters we know are taking longer but regular bus routes rather than bunch up at the shuttle terminals.

Some inconvenience is unavoidable of course. And Muni has done what it could to ameliorate it. But it wasn't going to be able to eliminate it. Which only shows you how important the tunnel is in the life of the city.

We promise more pictures of the construction equipment but today we wanted to mostly show the signage in context.

Never, we think, have so many wanted summer to end so quickly.

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