Click photo to enlarge
Bicyclists on the unopened portion of Highway 85 in 1994.

Q Is Highway 85 going to be widened? It seems like there is room for another lane. Also, is the carpool lane going to be turned into a toll lane on 85?

S. Perry

A Today it's all about Highway 85, and the answers to Mr. Perry's questions are yes and yes. The plan is to add a second carpool lane in each direction between Interstate 280 and Highway 87, possibly in four years or so. At that time, both carpool lanes will also become toll lanes.

Q There was yet another motorcycle fatality on Highway 85 in Mountain View last week. As a daily commuter on 85, I see the perils of carpool lane speeds being at 50-60 mph compared to the slow crawling in the right lanes, leading to dangerous merges into and out of the carpool lane. However, this can somewhat be mitigated if carpool lanes on 85 have designated entry and exit points especially near the west Highway 237 merge.

Arun Venkatesan

A That's what likely will happen when the toll lanes are installed.

Q Excuse the ignorance, but can you explain the rationale for the south/north designation for Highway 85? It traverses about 13 miles east/west but only about 10 miles north/south, and squarely or obliquely intersects freeways that are all also marked as south/north like 87 and 280. My children are already confused enough about cardinal directions without their help!

Steve Lebus


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A The oldest part of 85 from Cupertino to Mountain View was built in the '50s, and that section clearly runs north and south. At one time the stretch from 101 in South San Jose to I-280 in Cupertino -- the east-west portion that opened in 1994 -- seemed like it would never be built, so the north-south tag remained.

Q Recently, I almost got killed on Highway 85. I was driving in the left lane to Mountain View at the speed limit. My eyes were burning, and I was tired.

All of a sudden, I opened my eyes! Yes, I had dozed off for a few seconds. What I saw was my car heading toward a guard rail, and I was half-on and half-off the road. I quickly, but gently, turned back onto the road.

I then noticed was that there were no "dummy bumps" along the sides of the road, just between lanes. In many states, the shoulder strip has a tread engraved into it so that your tires make a load noise if you stray off the road. Is there any chance 85 could have reflective dummy bumps along the sides of the highway?

Dick Guertin

Mountain View

A Request denied. Caltrans inspected this stretch and said the visibility of the striping met state standards. Typically, ground-in-rumble strips on the shoulders are installed if there is a history of accidents where cars run off the road but this is not the case on 85.

Q Why don't they build an entrance to 85 from south off Winchester Boulevard at Netflix? There seems to be plenty of room. Otherwise you have to go all the way down to Los Gatos Boulevard or back to Camden Avenue. You can't do it at Lark. What a pain.

Roger Sachs

Los Gatos

A A pain indeed. Back when 85 was being planned, Los Gatos didn't want any freeway exits feeding traffic into its town. The partial interchange was a compromise, and there are no plans add more ramps.

Q There is a big bump on Highway 85 north almost exactly where the half-mile sign for the Moffett Boulevard exit stands. Every time my car goes over this bump, some parts of mine and my car's body hurt -- badly. They recently finished regrinding the roadway but sadly didn't fix this bump. Is there hope?

Nikunj Bansal

A The hurt will be over by the end of the year when the bump is removed, Caltrans. says

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