Q Every morning, I endure the slow grind to get on Highway 101 south from the Palo Alto Embarcadero/Oregon access. I know they are working on finishing the widening of 101 all the way to the Highway 85 interchange, but it has been at least a month now that nothing seems to be happening.

Everything seems to be in place except for a new coat of asphalt. It takes about 10 minutes to get on the freeway every day.

This is very aggravating. Does anyone at Caltrans feel some sense of urgency about this?

Bruno Marcho

Palo Alto

A Bruno, so many others share your pain. This has been one rugged commute since work began a year ago, and it is close to being done. Caltrans has finished work outside the median and is now working in the median on tasks not always easy to notice -- finishing the drainage system, adding a metal beam guard rail and signs. The widening should be done before Christmas, with paving taking place next year when the weather warms up.

Q I've noticed for quite some time what looks like a burned-out section on the grassy area of northbound Interstate 280 before Winchester Boulevard. It's in the shape of a square, which makes me think it was designed this way. What's going on here?

Marvin Fields


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A Several years ago the state allowed Toyota to create an advertisement for the car company by landscaping the area near Winchester in the shape of a car. But it became a safety issue when motorists slowed to try to determine what the image was. The pilot project ended about a year later and the colorful 26-by-53-foot floral mosaic was removed. The I-280 design of pansies, marigolds and alyssum showed an orange car that resembles a hybrid Prius rolling over a blue bridge connecting two asparagus-green hills.

Q Is it just me or is it now almost impossible to pump gas without holding the handle the whole time?

I used to clean out my car while filling up, but lately I can't. I thought it was a particular station, but it happens all the time! It is driving me crazy. Is there something wrong with my car or did the pumps change?

My right forearm looks a lot like Popeye's since I drive a Yukon XL. Don't judge. I also have a Kia Optima hybrid.

Colleen G.

Sacramento

A Me judge? No way. Tom-the-Roadshow-Gas-Man says, "There is no reason that I am aware that Colleen should be experiencing more problems lately. Some vehicle fills and some nozzles can be more temperamental, but usually resetting the nozzle clip after it has clicked off will get it to work properly. If I continue to have a problem (which is rare), I lift up the hose so it is higher than the nozzle, to drain any gasoline that may have collected in the hose due to splash-backs. Make sure the nozzle is in the vehicle so gas doesn't spill on the ground, on your car or on your shoes."

Q I'm writing to ask for help on a dangerous situation at Highway 237 and Lawrence Expressway.

When exiting westbound 237 to take the cloverleaf up and over the highway to get to southbound Lawrence Expressway, the foliage on the left-hand side of the ramp is so overgrown that drivers can't safely check for oncoming traffic. The merge has become dangerous. This is causing huge backups in the evening. The bushes and grass need to be trimmed back severely or simply removed.

Allan Hurst

A Caltrans will remove two California pepper trees next week and will also perform additional maintenance in that area.

Roadshow is moving. Beginning Tuesday, Gary Richards' column will be on Page 1 of the Local section. Look for Gary at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5335. Or follow him at Twitter.com/mrroadshow.