Q Canary Island palm trees are to be put on the approach to the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge. But why do we want fruit-bearing trees there? I had an olive tree and had to spray it three times, seven days apart, during the blooming season to avoid fruit. Who are these men that think of these things? Get a woman. She wouldn't allow it!
A One of those men says, "No worries." John-the-Bridge-Guy says the trees will be trimmed regularly to prevent anything from falling onto the bridge decks. "In the event any fruit falls, it can be presumed that the landing zone will be on the Oakland shoreline between the eastbound and westbound decks," he said.
Q I was wondering about the stairs/railings that go over the inside of the Bay Bridge at set intervals along the causeway section. Do they go down to a maintenance walkway/roadway or what? If you had a car problem and had to stop in the side emergency lane, would it be safer to wait on one of them than to get out of your car and wait by the side of the bridge?
A No. The stairs are used to access service platforms or the bridge interior for maintenance workers. In the event of a breakdown, the safest bet is to steer your car to either the left or right shoulder and remain inside the vehicle with hazard lights flashing.
Q I was driving westbound a few weeks ago when the moving message signs were being tested at the Caldecott Tunnel. I was in the left lane and I think the location of that initial sign at the entry to the tunnel is dangerous. There was traffic in front of me, to my right and behind me. When approaching the tunnel, I want to be aware of traffic around me, of the change in lighting entering the tunnel (darker), the narrower road (or so it seems), and repeatedly had to glance up to the sign to be sure to get the complete message. At the time I didn't know that the message was repeated several times once inside the tunnel. Since it was a test, maybe someone would want to hear one reaction.
A Caltrans says its goal is to provide as much advance warning as possible so drivers are not caught by surprise. There really wasn't a better location for this initial sign.
Q Recently I saw a question about cleaning inside the Caldecott's existing bores. I don't believe Caltrans gave you a correct answer, or at best you didn't want to alarm the public. The real reason Caltrans has no plans to clean the existing bores is because all that schmutz is toxic waste.
This waste cannot simply be washed off the walls and down storm drains. People that would do the washing would be required to wear hazmat suits (you know, those outfits all in white with complete hoods). All the wastewater would have to be collected into special sucker trucks and transported to a toxic waste site to be treated.
Caltrans has determined that it would be much cheaper and actually safer to just leave that dreck in place. That's the real reason they won't clean the tunnel walls. NOW YOU KNOW!
A I do know. There is aerially deposited lead along highway shoulders from the days three decades ago when lead was used in our gasoline. The state did remove lead at ramps and shoulders on Highway 24 as part of the fourth bore project. The tunnels are washed regularly and water is diverted to East Bay Municipal Utility wastewater treatment facilities.
Q Someone made reference to an email address for Caltrans that got his problem solved. Could you give me that address?
A Go to www.dot.ca.gov/hq/maint/msrsubmit to submit a service request.
Q How much longer are they working on the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge? I went to San Jose a few weeks back and it took 45 minutes to get across the bridge in the evening!
A Just two more months.
Q Roadshowman, I continue to be amazed by your lack of reporting on one of the most dangerous parts of our Santa Clara County highway system -- the never-ending lane reconfigurations on Highway 101 between Highway 85 and Embarcadero Road.
It's obvious to me that we need a Roadshow Annex who could be an advocate in the northern part of the county, because you seem to have a blind spot in this area. The number of accidents seems staggering. This construction zone needs to be completed, with crews working along this corridor daily, not three or four guys pushing dirt around once or twice a week.
A But ...
Q If you had anything to do with Caltrans installing new pavement lane markers at southbound 85 and 101 in Mountain View -- THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
A I've written about this area three times in the past three months. Yes, it's been a mess. But last week's work has made it easier for drivers to see their lane location. The widening is due to end late this year, with paving scheduled next year. That's when the light concrete, which makes it difficult for strips to stand out, will be replaced by dark asphalt.
Q Hey there Mr. Road King! I have been driving Blossom Hill Road now for almost 25 years. Do you think the stretch between Almaden Expressway and Blossom Avenue will ever be smooth? My two sons think we are on a roller coaster when we drive on it. My daughter, who drives now, avoids it by taking Santa Teresa. Will it ever get smoothed out completely?
A Yes, and soon. The city is about to begin a slurry seal project by the end of the year. The other section between Almaden and Santa Teresa Boulevard will be done next spring after San Jose Water finishes a major pipe replacement job.
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