Caltrans Installs Low-Emission Backup Power - Tom Lantos Tunnels


District: Bay Area
Contact: Alejandro Lopez /
Phone:(510) 385-6856

Caltrans Installs Low-Emission Backup Power Source at Tom Lantos Tunnels

SAN MATEO COUNTY – Caltrans installed a new 2.0 mega-watt, low-emission generator system at the Tom Lantos (Devil’s Slide) Tunnels on State Route 1 as a backup during power outages. The permanent power system will provide uninterrupted service in times of emergency.
The Tier 4 diesel-powered system significantly reduces emissions of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides to near zero levels. The new generator is the central part of a $7 million upgrade that will keep the tunnels open when local power is unavailable.

“This generator increases both the safety and reliability of the Lantos Tunnel, ensuring that we’re using low-emission technology in order to keep the tunnel operating in the event of a power outage,” said Caltrans Acting District 4 Director Dina El-Tawansy.

The Lantos Tunnels serve nearly 35,000 vehicle trips per day.

A multi-agency response team tested the newly installed generator system during an emergency preparedness training drill on February 4. Caltrans, the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) and local agencies responded to mock-emergency exercises, including fire and vehicular crash simulations. The California Highway Patrol, San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, Pacifica Fire and Police departments, California Office of Emergency Services, Office of the State Fire Marshal, North County Fire Authority, and Coastside Fire also participated in the drill.

“Keeping the tunnels' ventilation and lighting systems functioning during a power outage or emergency is important for public safety," stated Jonathan Cox, Deputy Chief of CAL FIRE’s San Mateo division following the successful completion of the emergency drill.
Motorists can find real-time traffic information for the tunnels and all state highways by visiting Caltrans’ QuickMap.
Caltrans reminds drivers to “Be Work Zone Alert” and “Slow for the Cone Zone.”