Q Since all this work is being done on both sides of Interstate 580 between Greenville and Hacienda roads to accommodate diamond lanes/toll lanes, please explain to me where BART is going to go when it comes (if it ever does) to Livermore? When I-580 was widened over the Dublin grade from Castro Valley out to the Altamont, room was left to put BART in the median. This does not seem the case for this latest widening. ... Do you know if the work on I-580 is taking into account the future BART extension? ... Is Caltrans planning for the future of BART to Livermore by making the center median wide enough for BART? I know BART to Livermore is not yet approved, but wouldn't it be smart to plan for it and do the widening once?
Joanne Berven, Arthur O'Grady, Mike Elder and zillions more
A Yes, it would be. But this is a case of what project has funding (the carpool/toll lane widening) and what project doesn't (the BART extension).
If the BART line is funded, crews will need to return to widen the median and shoulder areas for the 4.8-mile extension from the Dublin-Pleasanton station to Isabel Avenue. There is enough money for the carpool/toll lane construction, but that's it for now.
Q Do you know what the plans are for removing the old eastern span of the Bay Bridge once the new suspension bridge is finished?
A It's going to be dismantled, which will be expensive ($240 million) and take perhaps seven years. Some concrete or steel will be recycled or sold for scrap, but there likely is toxic lead in the paint that will have to be safely discarded. Coming down first will be the cantilever section. The state will create a regional park in the area where the old span now touches land, allowing visitors to view the new bridge.
KPIX-TV (Ch. 5) has a good story on its website about the demolition. Go to sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2013/03/13/demolition-of-old-bay-bridge-to-take-years to view a recent story.
Q I've noticed over the past year that more gas stations in Castro Valley and Dublin are tacking on a 5-cent-a-gallon surcharge if you pay with credit versus cash. My understanding is that major credit card companies would not allow merchants to pass on the credit fee they charge. This seems more and more like a cash grab by the gas stations. Assuming a 10-gallon fill-up, that's an extra 50 cents right there. Any idea on why this started up?
A More gas stations are listing two prices, but they are not doing anything illegal. They get away with it by saying they're offering a discount for cash, not a surcharge for credit.
Q The recently completed Guadalupe River Trail by the north end of Alviso is beautiful and already quite popular with cyclists, runners and walkers. But during a recent outing, I noticed substantial mud and water at the Highway 237 and Tasman Drive underpasses, making them impassable and forcing people to hoof it over the light rail with dogs, strollers and bicycles. Are there any plans to address this issue by raising the roadbed a few feet?
A Yes. The city intends to install a smoother paved surface like other undercrossings have, plus raise the lowest point by three feet. This should keep the undercrossing above normal tidal flows. The work at Tasman should be underway next summer.
The city also considered similar projects for Montague Expressway and 237, but there isn't enough clearance for service vehicles and it would not be able to contain stormwater, which is a requirement for the Army Corps and Water District.
Q For more than a week, I have seen one lane closed but no activity on Osgood Road near Blacow Road in Fremont. Do you know what is going on and for how long?
A This is connected to the BART project. BART's contractor is building a substation in the parking lot of the city's maintenance yard to install utility lines, and it has cut off access to the maintenance yard from Blacow. As a result, all maintenance vehicles now temporarily have to use the entrance off Osgood. Because some are hitched to trailers or are longer in general, there was concern that they'd be waiting in the road while trying to get through the electronic gate. The one lane was closed so that the longer vehicles with trailers wouldn't be sitting in the street with cars going by at 40 mph. The work within the driveway off Blacow is expected to be completed in a week or so, at which time the lane will reopen.