Throwback Thursday: the Caldecott Tunnel

Caldecott Tunnel under construction
Caltrans photo

Deep in the MTC archive is an interesting shot of the Caldecott Tunnel under construction.

The original two-bore structure opened in 1937 and connected Oakland and Orinda by going through the Berkeley Hills. It was Initially dubbed the Broadway Low Level Tunnel to differentiate it from another tunnel build in 1903 connecting Oakland and Orinda that was higher up.

Just before the 2013 opening of the Caldecott Tunnel’s fourth bore, Bay Area News Group reporter Denis Cuff took a look back at the old tunnel that the Caldecott rendered obsolete.  

The new tunnel helped allow for the growth of Contra Costa County. In 1930 it had a population of 79,000. That jumped to 100,000 in 1940, 299,000 in 1950 and 409,000 by 1960. In 1960, the tunnel got a new name: Caldecott. Thomas Caldecott was an Alameda County supervisor at the time the tunnel was constructed.

By 1964 a third reversible bore was added to the tunnel to accommodate the growth. In 2013, a fourth bore was opened for better traffic flow. From its humble beginning, the tunnel now is an important artery in getting people around the Bay Area.





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