Q I'm lucky to have a relatively short commute to my office in Albany. However, it takes me along one of the worst stretches of freeway between Solano Avenue in Richmond and the Albany exit on Interstate 80. It is full of deep ruts and severely cracked and pitted pavement. It's like driving on a four-lane dirt road at 65 mph, with cars weaving around and braking through these pavement hazards. Caltrans recently resurfaced I-80 from south of Central Avenue to the MacArthur Maze and it's smooth as silk. Are there plans to extend this vast improvement to the north?
A Yes, but not soon. Caltrans has a resurfacing project between the Alameda County line and Willow Avenue in Hercules planned, but construction won't begin until 2015.
Q I've been watching for this issue to be addressed in your column but have not seen it so I am asking. When traveling from the Bay Area to Sacramento, there is about an 8-mile stretch of I-80 between Vacaville and Dixon that has not been resurfaced. The rest of I-80 seems to have been done, but this section remains old and bumpy. When will it be resurfaced?
A Drive it again. Caltrans just finished repaving I-80 between Dixon and Vacaville and is now smoothing out the area through Davis between Mace and Richards (gotta like that name!) boulevards. Look for weekday delays from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. westbound and 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. eastbound, then 10 p.m. on Fridays to 7 a.m. Saturdays through the end of the year.
Q What are they doing to the Brokaw Road interchange at Interstate 880 in San Jose? ... It looks like Caltrans is about ready to open some new lanes feeding traffic (me) from north 880 onto Brokaw. Is this the case? ... Boy, I haven't ever seen roadwork proceeding this fast. Watching the changes is almost as exciting as watching Curiosity land on Mars!
Christian Llorin, Megan D. and Marty-the-Mars-Fan
A More changes are coming. Caltrans is planning a weekend closing of all Brokaw-880 ramps sometime after Labor Day. Double right turns will be allowed from the northbound offramp to east Brokaw and longer exit lanes should also be ready. The new loop ramp from Brokaw to north 880 could be ready by late October.
A carpool lane will be added to the onramp to south 880, but that won't open until next summer -- the same time the carpool extension between 237 and 101 is also ready.
Give Caltrans some credit. Originally the state thought it needed to close these ramps for a month, but they've decided to modify the temporary ramps and limit the closing to a weekend.
Q There are "Stopped Traffic Ahead" signs on north Highway 13 for the mile or so approaching Highway 24. I am sure these signs have prevented countless accidents, but recently I've noticed that these signs are flashing all the time. They used to turn on only when traffic was actually stopped. If the signs don't work properly, people won't trust them. Reducing people's faith in these signs is a dangerous game for Caltrans to play. Can you follow up on this?
A Caltrans is reviewing the use of these warning signs, which alert drivers to delays on Ashby Avenue or Highway 13 during the current repaving job. The problem is that traffic can be stopped at different times. Isn't it better to be warned than not to be? Go to www.dot.ca.gov/dist4/13ashbyresurface for more information.
Q Do you know why the metering light has been turned off on the Whipple Road ramp to Interstate 880 north in Union City? It hasn't been on for weeks. This area is always bad and at commute time this has caused it to be worse, backing up traffic to Thornton Avenue every day.
A You may have a bad commute for some time, and you can blame it on thieves who stole the wiring for this signal. There is no timetable on when the meter will be rewired.
Q I work near the Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose and the lane lines are pretty much invisible along Woz Way. It is difficult to get to the area when others unknowingly take up both lanes. I noticed that the Alameda will get a handsome resurfacing. Any plans for Woz Way?
A Handsome it will be, promises Heloisa-the-Traffic-Lady. She says city crews should be out before Halloween to rework Woz Way between Almaden Boulevard and San Carlos Street.
Q Am I the only one who can't imagine what they were thinking when marking the Peninsula Avenue overpass to 101 in San Mateo? When traveling westbound from the freeway, there are two westbound lanes, but as you go over the overpass you are told to "merge left." It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to merge left if you want go straight in the right lane. Those in the left lane should be told to merge right if they aren't turning left. The multiple black skid marks in the merging area tell the story better than I. Why was this done? Are there plans to change it?
A This baffles me as well. Designers say there isn't room for another lane where you are being told to merge left, so they believe the sign is helpful to some drivers. There are sidewalks on both sides of the bridge with houses and it's pretty tight. And you have been the only one to complain -- so far.
Join Gary Richards for an hourlong chat noon Wednesday at www.mercurynews.com/live-schats. Look for Gary at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 408-920-5335. The fax number is 408-288-8060.