Q Gary, love your column. However, your answer to Emily Dale's comment last week about the exorbitant length of time it's taken to finish Loveridge Road overpass on Highway 4 makes me think you have been drinking too much of Caltrans' Kool-Aid.
A Emily wrote: "I was just reading that the Golden Gate Bridge took four years to build. How possibly could the Loveridge Road overpass on Highway 4 take as long to complete? Geez."
To which Don added:
Q Come on, three creeks along Highway 4 stops work vs. the frik'n PACIFIC OCEAN? Give me a break! If you ever get a chance, drive to Fort Point, under the Golden Gate Bridge and just gaze up for awhile. Then tell me some 300-foot overpass is taking as long to build. If you cut back on the Kool-Aid, I'll cut back on the caffeine!
A Been to Fort Point, from which the bridge is an impressive sight. But back to Highway 4.
The Loveridge project goes over three creeks, and construction is not allowed from April to October in those areas. Plus, crews have to keep lanes open during peak driving hours, which on Highway 4 is most of the day. More than 130,000 vehicles move through here each weekday.
When the Golden Gate was being built, they didn't have to deal with stopping work for months or keeping lanes open for traffic. Maybe a better comparison is the construction of the new span of the Bay Bridge -- that's been underway for the better part of a decade.
Q I commute on Interstate 880 south from Broadway in Oakland toward the Coliseum every afternoon where eighteen-wheeler trucks are constantly in all three right lanes. I thought big trucks and vehicles towing trailers had to stay in the two right lanes. This is every afternoon, not just once in a while.
Is this area a special place where they are allowed to do this? When a ship is in, it really ties up all but the left lane for cars.
A The problem extends even further south ...
Q Semis on I-880 between Highway 238 and Highway 92 often travel for several miles in the far two left lanes in violation of the restriction to the two right-hand lanes on roads with at least three lanes. This has been terrible southbound at least for months and is getting worse. I never see any enforcement.
A You may, down the road. I talked to the CHP, which says eighteen-wheeler trucks, vehicles towing trailers and buses must stay in the two right lanes unless there are signs permitting them to use all three right lanes -- which sometimes is allowed on freeways with five lanes in one direction. This is not the case here.
But ticketing these drivers is a tough task. There is so much truck traffic here from the Port of Oakland, and a crackdown could make the slow commute even tougher.
Q Are there any plans to connect Fremont Boulevard at its southernmost end to North McCarthy Boulevard at Dixon Landing Road? This would alleviate a lot of traffic crossing over Dixon Landing and then crossing back over at Warren, not to mention give bicyclists a safer route to the South Fremont/Newark area.
A It sure would. Work could begin on this extension as soon as this summer as part of a new industrial development project planned for this area.
Q Last week was my birthday. I am 65 and now have my very own Medicare card, and I write to see if a birthday wish might come true.
Could you use your influence to be sure all rest stops on Interstate 5 are open for business this summer? Do you know what an inconvenience, and sometimes a necessity, it is for families, the elderly, and those with special needs when there is no place to rest or use facilities for 180 miles? It can't be that hard for Caltrans to keep these important rest stops open.
A Happy 65th birthday! There are 28 rest stops on I-5, and 25 are open. Go to www.dot.ca.gov/hq/maint/ra/Statewide.htm for an updated list of what is open, or see the list at the bottom of this article. If headed to Los Angeles, please note that the rest stops at Coalinga/Avenal in Fresno County are closed.
Q Do you know what ever happened to the Hedding Street bike lanes in San Jose? After the City Council approved them in August, they were supposed to begin work in October. The city started repaving Hedding around that time, and I assumed the new lanes were supposed to be re-striped along with the roadwork. But still no sign of new lanes.
A Hedding Street should get bike lanes this summer.
Q Mr. Roadshow, please help! Someone has installed a 101 sign on southbound San Antonio Road leading up to the signal at Charleston Avenue, except that the "101" is printed on a blue and red interstate highway shield instead of a black and white U.S. highway shield! Oh, the HORROR! Please, use your considerable powers to persuade the responsible (guilty) party to remove this ABOMINATION and replace it with a proper U.S. highway sign.
A I'm not sure who committed this horrible gaffe, but Caltrans will make sure a proper black and white highway sign is installed.
Join Gary Richards for an hourlong chat noon Wednesday at www.mercurynews.com/live-chats. Look for Gary at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at email@example.com or 408-920-5335. The fax number is 408-288-8060.