Arch Cape Tunnel – Cannon Beach OR


In February 1936, to complete the portion of Highway 101 between Cannon Beach and Manzanita, the Oregon Highway Department approved construction plans for a 1227-foot-long tunnel through Arch Cape. The federal Public Roads Administration provided critical funding for the project.

At the time of its construction, it was the longest tunnel on the Oregon Coast Highway.

Difficulties associated with the long bore through both the cape’s sandstone and basalt stretched the construction project out over almost four years. The presence of soft sandstone required the construction of a timber lining to prevent a cave-in. Construction workers struggled with difficult conditions including exposure to carbon monoxide from the blasting operation, gas-powered shovels, and trucks used for rock removal. Removal of blast material was further complicated by the tunnel’s position high above the Pacific

Arch Cape is the northernmost promontory on the stretch of highway that cuts across Neahkahnie Mountain. As such, the tunnel connects on the north to the Neahkahnie Road section of Highway 101. Drivers, heading south, emerge from the tunnel to see a vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean.

Source notes

"Arch Cape Job Under Contract," Oregonian. February 7, 1936. p. 11.

English, David and Alma English (1993) The Arch Cape Chronicles. Seaside, Oregon.

"Three Road Jobs Put on List," Oregonian. August 19, 1939.

"Tunnel Project Nearly Complete: Builders Finishing Roadway over New Route," The Sunday Oregonian. April 17, 1938. p. 6.

"Tunnel Through on Coastal Road," The Sunday Oregonian. March 28, 1937. p. 24.


Project originally submitted by Judith T Kenny on April 1, 2022.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

Arch Cape, OR 97102

Coordinates: 45.801073258294934, -123.96642083903546

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