Q Just before the opening of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, the tunnels on Yerba Buena Island were power-washed and the lighting upgraded. Are there any plans to do the same when the new Caldecott Tunnel fourth bore opens later this year? The original bores are so dark and dingy that people really dread driving through. The terrible lighting makes the drive very claustrophobic.

Donald Turner

Martinez

A Others agree with you.

Q The insides of the oldest tunnels are dismal in appearance -- large cracks, water leaking from the cracks, general road grime and the need for some paint is clearly evident. Any chance these tunnels will be given some attention or are such improvements considered cosmetic?

Inside the Caldecott Tunnel, April 2013.
Inside the Caldecott Tunnel, April 2013. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group)

Carlene Valentine

Walnut Creek

A Cosmetic, it appears. Caltrans says bores one and two are washed periodically, and the state says the lighting is routinely maintained and is in good working order. Here is why it appears dark -- lights in the two oldest bores that opened in 1937 were installed along just one side of the tunnel to allow enough clearance room for larger vehicles.

Read on and you'll discover that "no" is the theme word today.

Q Is there going to be a tour of the new Caldecott Tunnel for the public? Our senior citizen group from church would love to go.

Betty Galambo

Oakland

A Caltrans is getting this question from a lot of folks. But the answer is no. The state says the cost of an open house, traffic concerns and testing of fire and life safety systems are all factors against having a day set aside for the public.

Q During the BART strike, Caltrans extended carpool hours on I-80 before the Bay Bridge to run nonstop from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. I loved that. Can this be made permanent?

Devon M.

Vacaville

A There are no plans to make this permanent.

Q It's been well publicized that many of the components of the new Bay Bridge, especially in the suspension bridge area, were fabricated in China. I'm curious. Was the actual driving surface also fabricated in China?

Bill Stock

Emerald City

A No. The pavement is from local suppliers. In the case of the suspension portion of the new span, the paving contractor was O.C. Jones of Berkeley.

Q Now that the Bay Bridge has opened, I assume all bridge tolls will become a dollar, right?

John Bertana

San Jose

A Hah! But there is precedent for doing away with tolls. The San Diego-Coronado and Los Angeles' Vincent Thomas Bridge are toll-free.

Q I know this is probably wishful thinking on my part, but is there any chance Central Expressway will ever be three lanes? The commute home is horrible and a lot of the intersections become blocked because there is so much traffic trying to beat red lights.

Jason Juarez

Sunnyvale

A There's some hope. Santa Clara County would like to widen all of Central to six lanes from Lawrence Expressway east to De La Cruz Boulevard. It would remain four lanes west of Lawrence, to Middlefield Road, with auxiliary lanes between intersections.

That widening is in the county's long-term plans and could be discussed at an Oct. 28 meeting. Go to www.expressways.info for improvement proposals.

In the meantime, work on an eastbound auxiliary lane on the depressed portion of the expressway through Sunnyvale could begin in a few days. Lanes will be narrowed and shifted slightly with temporary closures during the day.

Q In Gilroy, turning right from south Camino Arroyo onto west Pacheco Pass there is a red light to the right of the dividing island. I've always understood this to mean you must come to a full stop on a red light. Is that correct? I get honked at for stopping quite a bit making that turn.

Justin Ford

Morgan Hill

A You are correct. This is not a free-right situation because there is a red light to the right of the island.

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