Another (!) Sunset Tunnel Shutdown… UPDATE

Every time I hear that the work on the Sunset Tunnel is “almost done” there’s another tunnel closure that ensures we have those lovely N-Buses running all weekend. This would be funny, except that it’s not.

Here’s the SFMTA announcement on Twitter (as of 10:53am the official page hasn’t been updated)

I have emailed the designated “media contact” for the project to try and get a better answer as to when this project might be completed since most of the work in the tunnel seems to be done (rain delayed some of the signal work elsewhere on the N). At this point it shouldn’t be too difficult to determine a more-than-likely date of completion, but I’m waiting for Official Word from Someone rather than try and tea-leaf it myself.

On a positive note-the ride through the tunnel is faster and smoother than before, and it is nice to know they did the seismic work needed to ensure you don’t die in the tunnel during the next Big Earthquake.

Unfortunately, this is a great example of how one little lawsuit can set off a domino effect of Unintended Consequences that can delay projects for years (and increase costs). The NIMBY lawsuit over “noise” pushed things back just enough so that delay, in addition other unplanned delays have conspired to make a project that should have been done by now be unfinished years later.

It’s also an example of how using lawyers and courts to resolve differences isn’t always a great way to do things. If upset Duboce Park neighbors had instead brought up concerns during the end of the year holiday work stoppage and worked with their Supervisor and the SFMTA, they could have had their concerns addressed, and the project would be done by now. Which, oddly enough, would mean NO MORE F***ING NOISE.

The City That Knows How To Delay marches on.

UPDATE 4/14: Last night I returned home and got this email from the SFMTA. It doesn’t say exactly when the work will ever be done, but it does seem to say that after this weekend, future work will be done at night (!), and then if they need to close the tunnels again (!!) it won’t happen until the fall, which is good news of sorts. It’s a shame they’re closing the N the same weekend as Dogfest though. Here’s the email from the SFMTA:

Dear Mr. Dewar:

Thank you for your email.

The Sunset Tunnel weekend construction in accompany with the bus substitution service will take place this weekend. After this weekend, tunnel work will continue at night after service hours with no impacts to Muni service. Our goal is to finish the work using non-revenue hours. If the construction requires more shutdowns, it will be coordinated with other projects this fall.

Since November 2014, the SFMTA has been working diligently on weekends to replace the aging tracks and upgrade other infrastructure inside the tunnel, including Overhead Catenary System (OCS), fire sprinkler and track switch systems. Please contact me if you need further assistance.



Jay Lu
Public Relations Officer
SFMTA Community Relations
One South Van Ness, 3rd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

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