Q The fourth bore at the Caldecott Tunnel is open! How about you invite some comments from your readers regarding changes to their commute? I've noticed the traffic is more smooth for the morning westbound commute, so long as there are no other issues on Highway 24 leading up to the tunnel.

Tabitha Pousson

A This surprises me. Relief was expected on the reverse commute direction, but not in the peak direction, as on westbound 24 in the morning. More data will be coming soon.

The INRIX traffic organization confirms that travel times between Orinda and Oakland were down 60 percent this week from midday on and speeds were up 20 mph between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. What took nine minutes a week ago is now a three-minute drive.

Light streaks from cars drive through the fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel after it was opened early Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, in Orinda, Calif. (Ray
Light streaks from cars drive through the fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel after it was opened early Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, in Orinda, Calif. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

Q Can you or your readers tell me: Is there a station that reports on Interstate 680 and Highway 24 traffic during commute hours? All the usual radio stations (who I won't name, but you know who they are) seem to ignore those highways until something dramatic happens.

Tabitha Pousson

A Traffic is always a challenge as you approach the areas that feed traffic through the Caldecott Tunnel. In defense of my radio pals, it's the unusual jams that deservedly get their attention. The nearby Bay Bridge hogs most of the attention.

Q When I heard the fourth bore was open I jumped on my bicycle to check out the bike lane. There isn't one. Did I misunderstand that the fourth bore was going to include a bike lane or should I expect an Obama-style apology?


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Ted Fisher

Walnut Creek

A A bicycle lane was considered, but it was ultimately deemed too costly and infeasible due to health and safety issues.

Q I feel sorry for reader P. Gant and the traffic delays he has experienced on Highway 101 at the Novato Narrows (Nov. 20), but that northbound traffic flow has been the standard for us Sonoma-Marin commuters six days a week since the Narrows construction got rolling in earnest last spring and well before the casino opened. He should try the afternoon commute. Ick.

The only difference on Saturdays is that backups start much earlier in the day as drivers head north for wine tasting, etc. And there are very few options to avoid it (Lakeville Highway can get bad, too). The casino has added to our headaches, to be sure. We are really looking forward to our SMART train, because the current construction is not even funded to add a third lane; it only covers the infrastructure and interchanges that will make future lane widening possible. They still need to come up with the estimated $250 million for that piece of the puzzle.

Will Mast

Petaluma

A I feel your pain. It may be at least seven years before the four-lane, 10-mile bottleneck north of Novato to Petaluma is widened to six lanes.

Q Last thing, while I understand you primarily have a South Bay focus for obvious reasons, helping out us North Bay readers a little more often would be very welcome. Nevertheless, thanks for all your efforts! I always learn something from your column.

Will Mast

A And I learn something from your questions.

Q Would you give us an update on work being done on The Alameda between Stockton and Randol streets in San Jose? It appears that they will be doing some striping in the near future. Will the street be repaved or will we have the same bumpy road? Or will we have a new paved, median strip and pop-out crossings for all the inconvenience of the last few months? And will the road be one lane in each direction or will it remain two lanes in each direction?

David West

San Jose

A Fixes are nearing an end on what has ranked as one of the Bay Area's nastiest streets. Median island installation started last week near Race Street. Medians will also be installed for the entire length of The Alameda from Stockton to Fremont in about two months, with paving, landscaping and electrical work completed by the end of January.

The Alameda will be paved from Stockton to I-880 in early spring when the weather warms up. And it will remain two lanes in each direction.

Q Any update on the Highway 92-El Camino Real interchange revamp in San Mateo?

John Quandt

Belmont

A The project to add partial cloverleaf ramps could be approved early next year. Then comes the tough part: landing the $15 million to begin digging. This would remove the two loop offramps to eliminate the short weave sections between ramps. The offramp traffic would be moved to the diagonal offramps, which would end at new signalized intersections on El Camino.

Q I was driving on Highway 46 between Lost Hills and Paso Robles, where they have blue lights on top of tall poles on the side of the road. They might have been on top of telephone poles, but I can't remember. Do you have any idea what they are for? There are some oil fields out there, if it has anything to do with that. I don't know of an airport, so I doubt it's to help planes navigate. It's pretty empty in general. They don't seem to mark intersections of the main road and the dirt farm roads.

Ben Joyce

A Those lights indicate the location of two oil rigs that are on Highway 46 in Kern County, so that truck drivers can locate them at night.

Q I read your column with all the complaints about traffic getting worse. In my case traffic has gotten better. I commute on the bike trail from south San Jose to First Street and Montague Expressway. Ever since the clocks changed and it is now dark in the evening, there are fewer runners and bikers on the trail. Yahoo!

Dale McNamara

San Jose

A Yahoo indeed!

Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com, at Twitter.com/mrroadshow.