Q What is the status on the Stevens Creek Boulevard-280-880 interchange project? The last I've heard is that VTA and Caltrans were planning to start construction later this year.
A You heard right. The VTA will put the final stamp of approval on the $64.2 million project at its Thursday board meeting. Pre-construction work has begun and serious digging will take place later this year. The cost may be lower when final bids roll in.
This area is an annual contender for Roadshow's Dirty Dozen list of worst road headaches, and for many work can't come soon enough.
The upcoming work will be in two phases. The first will provide a new ramp from northbound I-280 to northbound I-880. No longer will those drivers have to weave through traffic northbound on 880 trying to get to Stevens Creek or San Carlos streets. The second phase will build a loop ramp from southbound I-880 to Monroe Street and into the shopping center parking lot.
Work will last into 2015.
Q I have noticed on some offramps Caltrans has barriers preventing lane changes at certain points on the ramp. Given that many inconsiderate drivers almost cause accidents cutting in the long line to exit south I-880 onto Stevens Creek, can lane change barriers be installed there?
A Caltrans says no, as installing channelizers would be a huge maintenance problem with the short weaving and merging distances between these ramps. But a second exit lane will be built from south 880 to Stevens Creek and this should help a lot.
Unfortunately, there are more worries here with the way some folks drive.
Q One morning, as I crawled along 880 south in bumper-to-bumper traffic towards the ramp to 280 north, I witnessed the most appalling driving behavior that I have ever seen in 35 years of driving. On at least six different occasions with traffic whizzing by to my left, a car would come to a complete stop in the middle lane of 880 trying to find a last-minute tiny space to squeeze into so that they too could get to 280 north. I saw big rigs slam on their brakes and wait for these idiots to get out of their way.
A And it went from bad to very bad.
Q Then, when I was breathing a sigh of relief that the line of cars that I was in had made it onto the ramp where it was safer, a car going about 45 mph passes us all on the left shoulder! Please ask the CHP to do something.
A The CHP has been out and will return. I'm not sure the new interchange will eliminate this kind of bad behavior, but time well tell.
Q I'd love to know when Santa Clara County will repair the huge slip out on Bear Creek Road. We've had a one-lane road for almost a year and it's almost a half-lane road for motorcycles only. It's a major road through the Santa Cruz Mountains with thousands of people using it. Any help would be much appreciated.
A Repairs will begin Monday and last until mid-October. Santa Clara County will close this key route between the Presentation Center and Summit Road.
Look for detours onto Black Road and Thompson Road at the bottom of the hill and Summit and 17 at the top. The road will be closed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and occasionally on Saturdays. It will reopen in the evenings, though equipment will be stored along the road, leaving limited room for vehicles.
Q Are there plans afoot to level the railroad crossing on Hamilton Avenue between Highway 17 and Bascom Avenue? The height difference is quite horrendous and I think I need a front-end alignment every time I go over them.
A More good news. Repairs are scheduled to begin Sept. 13 and last through Sept. 18. Hamilton Avenue will be closed to through traffic from Sept. 14 at 10 p.m. to Sept. 16 at 6 p.m.
Q I'm one of the folks who often takes 280 north to 880 north before 9 a.m. Many months ago, there were lights at the onramp to 880. Lately, though, the meters haven't been on at any time. Was the experiment deemed a failure? Did someone steal the copper wiring? Goblins, maybe?
A None of the above. There was a problem with the meter's clock and it should be fixed any day.