SAN FRANCISCO - After a decade of demolition and construction and a billion dollar price tag, the crowning achievement of San Francisco's Presidio Parkway Project is preparing to open to the public.
Portions of the Tunnel Tops Park are already being enjoyed. This weekend the last remaining parts of this project more than a decade in the making will open to the public.
The Presidio Tunnel Tops Park is exactly as advertised and more, the San Francisco's newest park situated on top of a pair of tunnels leading to the Golden Gate Bridge.
"The Presidio Tunnel Tops is an amazing opportunity to take back what was a freeway and make it into this beautiful area," said Jean Fraser from the Presidio Trust. "It's going to support biodiversity because these are native plants, and it's going to support the health of all of us and the happiness, because who isn't happy coming out here?"
The park, set to open officially this weekend, is the culmination of the billion dollar Presidio Parkway Project. The previous Doyle Drive was built in 1936, but after 75 years was found to be seismically unsafe.
The San Francisco County Transportation Authority said that presented them with a unique opportunity to rethink how this space could be used. By 2015 the old roadways had been demolished, and replaced with tunnels, those tunnels eventually covered with earth.
"What we've emerged with is a safer roadway and also one that no longer works against but rather works with the beauty of the Presidio and it also created a lot more public space," said Eric Young from the San Francisco Transportation Authority.
Now, the end product is a new 14-acre park replacing the highway that once divided the Presidio, featuring green spaces, and spectacular views. "I will say that I'm pretty excited about the playground because even I liked going down the slide," said Fraser. "But, my other personal favorite are those beautiful benches out there that are all made of Presidio wood. So, this place is really a gift from the Presidio to everyone."
The Presidio Trust says they are preparing for the big unveil over the weekend. But some visitors already got a sneak peek at that playground. "Maybe we were the first, we didn't mean to break and enter. We thought it was open. No wonder there was no one there, said park visitor, Jenna Lott who's three-year-old son Alexander had the run of the park.
Saturday morning the Presidio Trust is hosting an opening event to show off the new park, visitors can check out for themselves starting Sunday.