Skip to main content

Northbrae Tunnel

The Northbrae Tunnel is a component of Solano Avenue located in the city of Berkeley, California. The 465-foot long Northbrae Tunnel originally functioned as part of the East Bay Electric Lines upon opening during 1912. Between 1941-1958 the Northbrae Tunnel was part of the Key System. The Northbrae Tunnel was purchased by the city of Berkeley and reopened as an extension of Solano Avenue on December 15, 1962.

The history of the Northbrae Tunnel

The Northbrae Tunnel is located in the namesake Northbrae neighborhood of Berkeley.  The Northbrae Tunnel was constructed by the Southern Pacific Railroad as part of the East Bay Electrics Lines via cut-and-cover construction methods.  The beginning of excavation for the Northbrae Tunnel was featured in the June 9, 1910, San Francisco Call

The East Bay Electric Lines tracks were completed during 1911 and opened for service on January 1, 1912.  The East Bay Electric Lines (in red) can be seen passing through the Northbrae Tunnel on the 1912-1913 Map of Oakland Vicinity by Reality-Bonds & Finance Company Map.  The Northbrae Tunnel can be seen connecting from the ends of Solano Avenue and Sutter Street.  

The East Bay Electric Lines began to be operated by Southern Pacific subsidiary Interurban Electric Railway beginning during December 1939.  Interurban Electric Railway service ended during July 1941.  The East Bay Electric Lines tracks within Berkeley were subsequently made available to the Key System.  The Key System continued to operate through the Northbrae Tunnel until April 1958.  

Following the shuttering of Key System rail service, the Northbrae Tunnel was purchased by the city of Berkeley via the Capital Improvement Program.  The Northbrae Tunnel was rebuilt as an extension of Solano Avenue to Sutter Street.  The Northbrae Tunnel reopened to automobile traffic on December 15, 1962.  The conversion of the Northbrae Tunnel from rail service to part of Solano Avenue was featured in the March/April 1963 California Highways & Public Works


Popular posts from this blog

Horace Wilkinson Bridge (Baton Rouge, LA)

Standing tall across from downtown Baton Rouge, the Horace Wilkinson Bridge carries Interstate 10 across the lower Mississippi River between West Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parishes. Unusually, the bridge is actually named for three separate people; three generations of Horace Wilkinsons who served in the Louisiana State Legislature over a combined period of 54 years. Constructed in the 1960s and opened to traffic in 1968, this is one of the largest steel bridges on the lower Mississippi. It’s also the tallest bridge across the Mississippi, with its roadway reaching 175 ft at the center span. Baton Rouge is the northernmost city on the river where deep-water, ocean-going vessels can operate. As a result, this bridge is the northernmost bridge on the river of truly gigantic proportions. Altogether, the bridge is nearly 2 ½ miles long and its massive truss superstructure is 4,550 ft long with a center main truss span of 1,235 ft. The Horace Wilkinson Bridge is one of the largest

Sunshine Bridge (Donaldsonville, LA)

Located about halfway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans in southern Louisiana, the Sunshine Bridge spans the lower Mississippi River near the city of Donaldsonville as part of the longer Louisiana Highway 70 corridor, which connects Interstate 10 and Airline Highway (US 61) with US 90 in Morgan City. In the years following World War II, the only bridges across the lower Mississippi River in Louisiana were located in the area of the state’s two largest cities – Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Postwar agricultural and industrial development along the river in this region led to the planning of a series of infrastructure projects in southern Louisiana that were aimed at spurring this development and modernization of the Delta region. One of these projects was known as the Acadian Thruway and was developed in the 1950s as a toll road intended to connect greater New Orleans with Lafayette and points west while providing a high-speed bypass of the Baton Rouge metro area. The Thruway, which

Veterans Memorial Bridge (Gramercy, LA)

When we think of the greatest engineering achievements and the greatest bridges of North America, we tend to focus on those located in places familiar to us or those structures that serve the greatest roles in connecting the many peoples and cultures of our continent. Greatness can also be found in the places we least expect to find it and that 'greatness' can unfortunately be overlooked, due in large part to projects that are mostly inconsequential, if not wasteful, to the development and fortunes of the surrounding area. In the aftermath of the George Prince ferry disaster that claimed the lives of 78 people in October 1976 in nearby Luling, LA, the state of Louisiana began the process of gradually phasing out most of its prominent cross-river ferry services, a process that remains a work in progress today. While the Luling-Destrehan Ferry service was eliminated in 1983 upon completion of the nearby Hale Boggs Memorial Bridge, the ferry service at Gramercy, LA in rural St.