PACIFICA (KCBS) – Merchants along the San Mateo County Coastline are anxious for the Devil’s Slide Tunnel Project to open.

Many shop owners see the stretch of Highway 1 as a critical lifeline, one that can be crippled by frequent accidents and mudslides in the area.

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“The part that affects us more as a business is the lack of people going through,” said Mary Rogers, who works at Caffe Lucca just south of Devil’s Slide.

Rogers said that while a tunnel will likely keep Highway 1 open more often, some locals are worried about the project’s potential long-term impact.

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“I think they think there’s going to be an influx of people coming down here because this area is still pretty pristine and not as busy as certain other areas,” she said. “I think they want to keep it the way it is.”

Caltrans said despite the progress being made on the project, the tunnel won’t be ready until 2012.

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