Q Recently I drove my Prius from Santa Cruz to Yellowstone and back. Positively without a doubt the worst road was Interstate 580 over the Altamont Pass. Are there plans to fix that section?
A Oh, you and so many others want to know.
Q My husband and I travel the Altamont Pass on most weekends to visit family in the Central Valley and have noticed that the condition of 580 is deteriorating. The far left lane eastbound seems to be separating and falling away from the rest of the lanes, and the many patches and potholes on both sides make for a bumpy and potentially dangerous ride. ... I-580 has more resemblance to a batch of peanut brittle that it does to a highway. ... The condition of 580 is at best Third World. That means only one step better than not being paved at all. ... Here's wishing you a speedy recovery from back surgery. I won't send my request for you to take a Mr. Roadshow road trip to the Tracy Outlets on I-580 using only the number three or four lanes (just like the trucks) over the Altamont Pass until after you are fully healed.
Ashley Pietz, Barry Zupan, Bruce McCoy, Andrea Johnson and many more
A Arrghhh. No way will I take a lumbar-rattling road trip on 580! No way, I say! I trust you and the zillions who have been complaining about the roughest ride in the Bay Area. Now for some hopeful news.
A $49 million project should be under way later this year to build a new truck climbing lane and rehab the pavement eastbound from Greenville Road to east of North Flynn Road.
Q Does Caltrans have plans to repave westbound 580 west of I-5?
A Yes, but not anytime soon. The state wants to repave I-580 from I-5 to Highway 132 in 2016.
Q One day I was driving home east of Livermore on I-580 with my 8-year-old granddaughter in the back seat. I was in the left lane. Suddenly, she said, "Grandma, the man in the car next to us is asleep."
I turned to look at the car in the right lane, and to my horror the man wasn't just dozing but was sound asleep with his head back, eyes closed and mouth open and seemed to have his hands on his lap. I didn't know what to do, but knew that in all the traffic if cars slowed down or stopped he would have plowed right into them.
I ended up slowing and beeping my horn. His head jerked wildly, he grabbed the wheel, changed lanes and sped in front of me. In hindsight I feel like I would have been better speeding up and beeping after I went by rather than slowing down in case he swerved.
Hopefully, I will never be in that situation again. What would you have done?
A Almost exactly what you did. I might have eased behind the sleeping driver, but your quick reaction may have saved his life and that of others.
Q I would like to commend Caltrans and its contractors for repairing the pavement in the third lane of Interstate 680 southbound between the Castlewood and Sunol exits. Commuters can finally drive without worrying that their car will be damaged. However ...
A I knew a "however" was coming.
Q The strip of pavement at exit 22 (Sunol) is being disintegrated by the trailer wheels of big rigs. There is an undulation in the road before this exit which causes the trailer tires to jackhammer this pavement. Please advise Caltrans that there are large chunks of the newly laid surface that are about to break away.
A An alert has been dispatched. Caltrans used emergency repair funds to make the concrete slab fixes you like, but then ran out of money. Crews will be out by the end of the month to make temporary repairs and remove the broken concrete and replace it with asphalt. A permanent fix could be under way before winter.