Q Traveling on Highway 101 after passing the San Jose airport, there is a train trestle bridge that you cross under after Trimble Road. There has been a really strong smell that I can only describe as ammonia. There are some jet fuel tanks before passing under the bridge, but I think they are too far for that to be the smell. Any idea of what that smell is and if it's toxic or harmful? It can be pretty strong.

Norm Macaraeg

Morgan Hill

A And ...

Q What is the source of that yucky smell on 101 near the San Jose airport?

Mary P.

San Jose

A Anyone else?

Q Every morning as I drive past Mineta International Airport on Highway 101 there is a strong odor (smells like jet fuel?) that irritates my lungs. Is this in fact jet fuel or fumes from aircraft above? Is it safe for us humans to breathe regularly?

Steven Benedetti

San Jose

A Airport officials say the smell of aviation fuel is the likely culprit. There could be two reasons why, both related to fall weather patterns:

The wind direction often changes this time of year and as a result, aircraft operations typically change. This was definitely the case recently. Planes were landing and departing from north to south, and any aircraft taking off would be closer to 101 and its exhaust may have been detected by those on the freeway.


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With the morning overcast, it is likely more particulate matter is being trapped so the smell of fuel and/or ozone (which could be interpreted as ammonia) may become more prevalent.

Most people can withstand short exposures to fuel vapors without any problems, but it can be irritating. It should not cause health problems in this circumstance. It just doesn't smell good.

Q What is going on by the north end of the San Jose airport, where I see a lot of trucks?

G. Moitozo

San Jose

A This is construction of facilities and parking structures to support fueling, shuttle and air cargo operations. The new fuel facilities will have a maintenance bay, administrative office space and parking for fuel trucks.

There's also a new inter-terminal shuttle facility being built for administrative offices to house a courtesy shuttle bus operation and parking for shuttles for airport employees, as well as for FedEx.

Look for work to be done next spring.

Q Are there plans to deal with the constant congestion at Stanford Avenue and Junipero Serra caused by hikers on the Stanford Dish trail? Cars park parallel along Stanford Avenue and drivers wait in traffic for spots to open up. Pedestrian traffic is heavy as well, with the commute to Stanford adding to the mess.

Michael Scoles

A Stanford is developing an improvement plan for the area and various options are under consideration. The number of parking spaces might be reduced and moved to nearby locations. Another option would include repositioning the parallel parking to allow for a wider maneuvering space to get parked vehicles out of travel lanes.

Look for Gary at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5335.