Q I commute daily through the Caldecott Tunnel. I work a normal eight-hour day, so I commute around the same time both to and from work. I'm guessing that a lot of folks have a similar schedule.
If that's the case, why is my commute coming home always longer time-wise than my commute going to work? My only theory is that there are a lot of people who go in earlier than I do, work a longer day, and come home when I do. Or is there another reason?
A That may be part of the answer, but the bigger reason is that there are simply more people on the road in the afternoon than in the morning -- up to 10 percent, according to state figures. These are often non-commuters.
Q It looks like Hayward is about ready to finish work on Mission Boulevard. Can you tell me what the finished product will look like?
A Go to www.HaywardLoop.org for maps showing what the new road design will look like when Mission and Foothill Boulevard loop around the downtown area.
The city expects to open the new roads after the weekend of March 15-18, the final piece of the biggest public works project in city history, although some work will continue into June.
Essentially, traffic will flow one-way north on Foothill and one-way south on Mission and part of A Street, skirting downtown. The $100.5 million project stretches from Interstate 580 in the north, down Foothill, around downtown and then all the way down Mission to Industrial Boulevard.
Q I have noticed some large metal structures popping up along the freeways. There is one on the north side of Interstate 580 between the Dublin-Foothill Boulevard and Eden Canyon Road exits. There is another along 680 on the west side between the Castlewood and Sunol exits. The structures have a roof and three sides with one side open. They are large, about 20 feet wide, 30 to 40 feet long and 25 feet high at the end with the opening. Do you know what they are for? Since they have been built about six months ago I haven't seen any activity in or around them.
A Beats me, and folks, I need your help. I've asked Caltrans, county officials, city officials, public utilities folk and traffic cops what is going on here. The answer: We don't know. So I turn to you, my readers. Someone must know.
Q I figure you'd be able to find this out for my curious mind. What is the round metal structure with the orange things on top on the corner of De La Cruz Boulevard and Central Expressway north of the San Jose airport? Is it some kind of radar for the airport?
A Indeed it is. This is the FAA VOR (very high-frequency omnidirectional radio range) ground station. It enables pilots to determine their position and stay on course by receiving radio signals transmitted by a network of ground radio beacons.
Q At 3:40 p.m. last Thursday, I was following a Highway Patrol car as it entered Highway 17 at Lark Avenue. Immediately upon entering the highway, the flashing lights went on and the car started weaving back and forth across the highway, which made all cars behind it go very slowly, as we couldn't possibly get around it. I assumed we were being slowed in preparation for a stop so that the officers could pick up debris on the highway, or because of an accident. However, after driving like this for about two miles, the lights were turned off and the car exited the highway. I'm curious as to what was going on.
A This was a "rolling roadblock" designed to slow drivers until a problem ahead could be cleared. This most likely involved debris on the road that was picked up before you got there.
Q I have a question regarding license plate lights. Are they required by law?
A Yes, a light is required.