Q I travel to the Antioch-Pittsburg area fairly often, where they have been working on Highway 4 for what seems like years and years and years. When will that thing be finished? It's fairly flat and level and would seem not to have heroic engineering problems.
A Crews began work at Loveridge Road three years ago and are hoping to finish all work on the $1.3 billion project in mid-2015. Work at the Loveridge and Somersville road areas should be done late this year. Other work will be completed in the spring or summer of 2015.
The highway is being widened from four lanes to eight and will include carpool lanes each way. The existing lanes will be repaved with concrete and the median will have room for the BART extension to Antioch. A groundbreaking ceremony is planned Feb. 11 at the Hillcrest interchange, the final project to get under way.
Go to www.widenSR4.org for more information.
Q Gary, here are a few of my top candidates for your next Dirty Dozen list.
I would probably put Interstate 580 between Castro Valley and the Altamont at the top of the list, both ends of the day. Highway 4 in Antioch is also a perennial non-favorite, although the morning is worse than the afternoon.
Afternoons on eastbound Highway 37 in Sonoma County have gotten almost mysteriously horrendous, especially during the summer. One theory I tend to agree with: It seemed to worsen shortly after bridge tolls went up to $5. Many people are going out of their way to avoid it by leaving San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge, in the toll-free direction, driving through Marin and across 37, getting them into Solano County also toll-free.
This saves $100 a month if you have to do it every day -- significant for many.
KQED traffic reporter
A It would be for me as well.
Q Do you know why one of the toll lanes has been closed on the Dumbarton Bridge between 7:30 and 7:50 a.m.? This has added almost 20 minutes to my commute. ... I commute to Palo Alto and use the Dumbarton Bridge, where the past few mornings have been horrible with the toll plaza backup just over the 880 overpass. ... With this economy, I am sure someone would be happy to get a job as a toll taker. Otherwise, why not dedicate that lane as a FasTrak-only lane? ... Traffic is a mess. ... Is this closing going to continue?
Stacey Tisor, Lisa Ynzunza, Tracy Gibbs, Joan Martin and many more
A Bad, bad news. Booth No. 4 has been closed as a cost-cutting measure and there is no indication when that will be reversed, if ever. Bridge authorities and Caltrans will monitor traffic through the end of this week and then re-evaluate the situation. The closed lane may be reopened either as a cash/FasTrak lane for a couple of hours from around 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. or as a FasTrak-only lane. Stay tuned.
Q I live in Cambrian off Foxworthy Avenue. Any chance the city will ever fix our road between Ross and Meridian? The road got partially paved from Union to Ross, but they stopped just short of where the road really needed repairs. ... Miller Road between Prospect and Bollinger roads is in terrible shape. This street is like driving off-road in the country and has been patched so many times that is very rough and cracking. Is there any chance that it is going to be repaved soon?
Ron Olson and Tom S.
A Not likely. The city will make some pothole repairs and will consider both roads for paving work. But there is not enough cash to promise when that might happen.
Q Fremont Avenue from Wolfe Road to Hollenbeck Avenue in Sunnyvale has potholes and cracks. It needs paving.
A Fremont Avenue, from Cordilleras to Sunnyvale-Saratoga roads, is scheduled for resurfacing in another couple of years.
Q As part of the BART-to-San Jose work, the area near Penitencia Creek at the future BART hub at Berryessa is under construction. However, residents around this area have always been concerned about why the city couldn't expand the bridge on King Road between Berryessa and Mabury. We understand that the city is still waiting for an environmental study on the effects of the project on fish in the creek. This study must have been going for a decade, and in that time I've seen bicyclists and pedestrians passing through here while cars zoom past them. It's a hazardous situation that needs to be addressed.
A You have a good memory, for pre-construction work began more than a decade ago when the project to widen the King Road bridge was completely designed, permitted and put out to bid in April of 2003. But after the release of the bid, the National Marine Fisheries, a federal agency that advises the Corps of Engineers, requested that the Corps rescind the permit because of concerns that the design would threaten endangered steelhead trout. The permit was then rescinded.
The city says the project remains a priority but there is no feasible way to build a new bridge until flood-control improvements along Penitencia Creek are made. Because the existing bridge restricts the flow of the river, replacing it without downstream creek channel improvements would create flooding issues.
When will this project move ahead? Good question. Once channel improvements are funded, the city says it can move forward with a new bridge design so construction can occur concurrently. Hopefully this will not take another decade to figure out.
Q When is Highway 17 between I-280 and Highway 85 scheduled for repair? It's getting markedly worse -- big holes along the seams and huge potholes. The direction going toward Santa Cruz is awful. We are thankful that the 880 portion north of Valley Fair was resurfaced a couple of years ago and is now terrific. The contrast is huge!
A I took a spin out there the other day and it is a huge difference. Crews will dig out the worst spots on 17 and make repairs late this spring or early summer.