Disruptive Twin Peaks tunnel work delayed until July

Officials at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation are delaying a project once again that will replace the rail tracks inside the Twin Peaks Tunnel.

The SFMTA had planned to start construction in mid-April.

A project status update from the SFMTA’s website on the Twin Peaks Tunnel Improvements project said on Thursday:

“The April construction start has been postponed until the summer due to unforeseen conditions inside the tunnel.”

The updated post continued to say that the SFMTA project staff and the contractor are working to address the issue. NTK Construction is the contractor for the project. The SFMTA Board of Directions approved a $33 million contract with the company last April.

SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose told SFBay that SFMTA staff and the contractor needed more preparation time inside the tunnel before construction can begin.

Rose also said the transit agency made a commitment to the West Portal neighborhood not to have any construction work go on during the month of May and June because merchants said it is busiest time for businesses.

The transit agency does not also want to disrupt subway service during Gay Pride festivities, which is on June 24.

At the earliest, construction could begin in July, said Rose.

The SFMTA is planning for five closures of the Twin Peaks Tunnel with each closure lasting for up two weeks.

Transit officials said the Twin Peaks Tunnel is a century old and needs “extensive improvements” including replacing all the rail tracks on the 2.25 mile stretch of the tunnel from West Portal to Castro stations, making seismic upgrades on the eastern portion of the tunnel, installing a new drainage system and installing a new fire suppression system at West Portal Station.

The shutdowns would affect the 80,000 daily riders that travel through the tunnel. Muni’s K-Ingleside, L-Taraval and M-Ocean View enter the subway through the West Portal Station.

Officials had tentatively mapped out a bus shuttle plan while the shutdowns occurred.

The SFMTA anticipates to complete the project by the summer of 2018.