Q Gary, can you contact Caltrans about the lights on Interstate 680 from Highway 24 to Highway 237? Probably more than half of the large signs in the middle of the freeway and at onramps are dark because the light bulbs are burned out. They've been like this for months.
A The bulbs aren't burned out. And the darkness extends onto I-280.
Q Darkness has eerily taken over the 280 freeway from 101 towards 87. All streetlights and freeway signs are dark. Even the whole 280/680/101 interchange is dark. Is this another result of wire theft or is something else out of kilter? If wire theft, then those guys should be able to retire on the amount stolen in such a short period.
A This area has been hit hard by wire thieves. State crews started to work on this issue, but were pulled because of thefts at pump stations. Crews are also dealing with repairs at hundreds of traffic signals, as well as an extremely high number of roadway lighting poles. Pump stations will be fixed first, followed by traffic signals and then freeway signs. It could take a while for 680 and 280 fixes.
Q With an obvious drought year it is befuddling that most of the east-west passes through the Sierra are closed.
If you live in Fresno or San Jose you have to go way out of the way to travel to Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort, 40 miles north of Bishop in the Eastern Sierra. It is directly across the Sierra from Fresno.
Tioga Pass, the most direct route, is closed. It is a very high mountain pass, so we get that. But Sonora Pass (Route 108) and Ebbetts Pass (4) are closed, though I doubt there is any snow to worry about.
I had to go from Mammoth one night north to Minden and find my way in pitch black to Highway 88 or the Carson Pass.
A Although there hasn't been a lot of snow this winter, Caltrans says it is not safe to open the Sonora and Ebbetts passes because of thick ice on the road. While temperatures are above 50 degrees during the day, night temperatures have consistently fallen to 30 or below.
One worry with ice is the steepness of the passes. Sonora Pass has grades in excess of 20 percent and Ebbetts Pass has grades in excess of 23 percent, far exceeding the typical modern mountain highway grade of 6 percent.
The passes should reopen by Memorial Day.
Q A dangerous situation has developed since they have been digging up Alum Rock Avenue from White Road to Fleming/Kirk. The solid/broken line that marks the center turn lane is gone and every time I drive that route I see at least two cars using the turn lane as a second westbound lane. For people used to using the turn lane it creates a potential problem of someone going west plowing into them while passing slower traffic. Temporary markings need to be put down to make it a center turn lane again.
A Thanks to your email, the contractor has reinstalled temporary raised pavement markers and promised to restripe the permanent two-way left turn lane within a few days.