Carley V. Porter Tunnel completion
^ Reinecke Touches Off Blast' to Complete Water Tunnel GORMAN W -- Lt. Gov. Ed Reinecke touched off an explosion Thursday in the bowels of the Tehachapi Mountains east of here to complete a 4.8-mile long tunnel for the $2.8-billion California Water Project. The blasting ceremony, called a "hole-through." was 900 feet below the surface of a mountain al a midpoint in the tunnel toward which two crews had been digging from both ends. REINECKE, wearing a hard hat and slicker, stood with Assemblyman Carley V. Porter. D-Compton. and other state officials some 300 yards from the 12-foot rock wall that halved the tunnel. A pull on a lever detonated dynamite, crumbling the rock wall to powder. Through the dust stepped cherring workmen who had entered the underground tube from the other side. Champagne bottles were opened and toasts were offered to the workmen, to Reinecke and to Porter, chairman of the Assembly Water Committee, for whom the 20-foot wide tunnel was named. CONCRETE tubing must still be placed before the $l8-milliun tunnel can handle the 120 million gallons of water an' hour lo be carried along the 600-mile system to Southern California. The project is planned to deliver suplus water from N o r t h s r n California's a b u n d a n t rivers l o parched lands and households in the southern section of the stale by 1972. The syslem utilizes lakes, dams, r i v e r s , steams and artificial waterways lo conduct the water southward. The route through the Techachapis was the toughest, says William Gianelli. state director of water resources. THE TEHACHAPIS run east and west across a point roughly one-third up the California mainland, and, Gianelli told newsmen, "The tough part was figuring a way lo pump Ihe water up over the mountains." Giant pumping stations, auli under construction, will lift the water nearly 2,000 feet up the northern side of Ihe Tehachapis, Gianelli said, and into four tunnels that will bring the water to the southern side. The Carley V. Porter Tunnel was the last and farthest south of the tunnels. The Dravo Corp. began work in 1965, but numerous problems in an area described by officials as a "geological nightmare" delayed completion by a year. AS REINECKE and the oilier officials rode to ths "hole-through" ceremony down three miles of twisting, narrow-gauge track, a construction man yelled to Ihem over the clatter: "Look up there. That's where we had the cave-in two years back. Seventeen men were trapped for 19 hours in December 1967 when a 112- fool seclion of Ihe lunnel gave way. They were reached by men who dug from d i r e c t l y through 80 feet of dirt, rock and steel. That portion has been heavily reinforced.