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On March 12, the Coronado Tunnel Commission (CTC) — a group formed to seek funding for construction of an underground tunnel to ease the town’s traffic congestion — held a meeting at the Coronado Police Department.

The tunnel, which would target naval employee traffic, would extend from the bridge to North Island. West portal design options will be submitted to Caltrans next week, said Brian Pearson, a consultant for Parsons Brinckerhoff.

The Navy, which supports “4B3” (an alternative plan that would locate the portal off base), will also review the plans. Jim Benson, Coronado assistant city manager, said Caltrans, the project’s lead agency, is now “agreeing that 4B3 has some negative impacts.” The plans give the Navy 30 days to respond. If there is no “significant response” from the Navy, Pearson said, “the document will be accepted as submitted.”

A final draft report on tolling, to be submitted to the city council on April 7, “will not be provided to the council in advance of presentation,” Pearson said. The project won’t get support without tolling, he stressed. Tolling “is a linchpin to the whole tunnel process.”

Three members of the public attended the meeting, including 2008 mayoral candidate Barbara Denny, an environmental lawyer who has opposed the tunnel as “an extravagant waste of public funds.” But Denny strongly favors tolls, calling herself “the mother of bringing them back.”

“We’re leaving all options open,” including federal funding, said Benson, citing the 130-million-dollar piece of stimulus for transportation for San Diego County. However, Benson cautioned, “Let me put that in perspective — an interchange will cost you a hundred million.”

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Comments

PapaMcCain March 18, 2009 @ 7:34 a.m.

Complaining about traffic in Coronado is like moving into the Lindberg Flight Path and complaining about noise. As an Ex-Coronadoan, I know traffic gets tough certain times of the day leaving the Island split in half, but that's the price you pay living next to the largest civilian workforce of any military base in the world. I don't see a tunnel as an answer, I see a tunnel as a target, an easy target.

Just deal with the traffic as you have since the bridge was built in 1969 and remember that it's still a lot better than the 6 block long parking lots that the Ferries created at the end of the day. This is not the smartest of times to be talking about billion dollar projects in this state anyways.

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Reader Staff March 18, 2009 @ 2:57 p.m.

"The 3rd and 4th street transportation corridor, which is actually State Route 75 and 282, is under the jurisdiction of Caltrans. While the Navy is a Cooperating Agency, Caltrans is the lead agency for the SR 75/282 Transportation Corridor Project and the City of Coronado is the action proponent. This project is examining several alternatives for traffic mitigation within the City of Coronado overall. Within the Navy's role as a Cooperating Agency, the Navy is committed to assisting in the identification of mutually acceptable traffic solutions to improve conditions on the State Route 75/282 Transportation Corridor. However, at this juncture the Navy is not in a position to take a stance in favor of any particular alternative."

--LT Kellie Randall Public Affairs Officer Naval Base Coronado

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