Q Traffic on Interstate 80 is a mess from the Bay Area to Davis. So when will they turn on the metering lights to slow the flow onto the freeway? ... Getting to Reno on I-80 is difficult even with good weather. Are there plans to add metering lights on some ramps as you head into the mountains?

Mike Ramos, Todd P. and many more

A The answers: Yes, and eventually. Caltrans will turn on meters Feb. 24 along eastbound I-80 through Fairfield from Red Top Road to North Texas Street during the evening commute. The meters could be working as late as 8 p.m. on Fridays of holiday weekends.

Then next year, the meters from Redwood Street in Vallejo to I-505 in Vacaville could be working in both directions.

Traffic on Interstate 80 in Vacaville, California, November 27, 2013.
Traffic on Interstate 80 in Vacaville, California, November 27, 2013. (Joel Rosenbaum / Vacaville Reporter)

As for heading into the Sierra, the state has plans to add meters at Rocklin Road, Sierra College, Horseshoe Bar, Penryn, Newcastle and routes 193 and 49. There is no time frame for when they will be installed, however.

I know some people will howl when these lights go on, but recall this October conversation with a Highway 4 commuter after meters were turned on there:

Q I get on Highway 4 going west at Willow Pass Road at Bay Point. My commute is now 10 minutes longer every day since the metering lights were turned on. This area of the freeway was moving fine until the lights came on; now even the highway is stopped.

Tom Haney

Pittsburg


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A Tom's email reflected the sentiments of many drivers after metering lights began working three months ago. So, Tom, how are those lights working out these days on Route 4?

Q It pains me to say it, but it appears that they have begun to help the merge.

Tom Haney

A Yes! I consider you to be another metering light convert.

Q I commute to Antioch, and the speed limit on Highway 4 between Pittsburgh and Antioch up to Somersville Road is now 55 mph. But now it is a four-lane highway in both directions. When will that change as people are going way faster?

Gene Wallace

Martinez

A In a few weeks. The speed limit will remain 55 eastbound between Harbor Street in Pittsburg and Somersville Road until March, then increase to 65 mph when the Loveridge segment of work is completed. The speed limit then will drop to 55 mph at the Somersville Road/Auto Center Drive interchange, as construction work moves to the east.

The westbound segment between Somersville and Loveridge is expected to change back to 65 mph starting west of Contra Loma Boulevard/L Street in March as well. That's when construction on westbound Highway 4 on the Loveridge segment is expected to be done.

Q I recently saw a police SUV on I-80 with California exempt plates. When I passed the vehicle, the sign on the side read "Union Pacific Police." I thought exempt plates were reserved for state and local government-owned vehicles. Last time I checked, Union Pacific was a private company.

Jim Cunradi

El Cerrito

A California Penal Code Section 830 lists many categories of peace officers recognized by the state, including agencies many people might consider nontraditional examples of peace officers. Railroad police are one of those listed.

Q I have a question about the work being done to the overpass at Taylor/Mabury and Highway 101. Will there be a 101 exit or a 101 entrance? Also, why wasn't all the work done years ago when they originally widened this overpass?

Andrew Garofolo

San Jose

A Caltrans now is working to stabilize the embankment on the south side of the overpass. Work should be done by March. However, there are bigger plans for a new 101/Mabury interchange with ramps to enhance access to the future Berryessa BART station and that will include bike lanes.

San Jose began pursing a new interchange more than 20 years ago, but a lack of money and other priorities pushed the effort back. The city instead focused on the airport expansion and improved access -- remember the Highway 87 freeway upgrade of Guadalupe Parkway and the new interchange at 880/Coleman?

Added Hans-the-City-Traffic-Czar:

"Our top priorities then shifted to relieving severe traffic bottlenecks at 101/Tully, 101/Capitol/Yerba Buena, and 280/880/Stevens Creek. We can almost say mission accomplished with all those projects."

And now 101/Mabury is a top priority. The Berryessa BART station should open in 2017, though the interchange won't be done by then.

Q I, too, have often wondered how often the CHP uses planes to patrol Highway 17 through Scotts Valley. I'm betting not many.

Tom Dietz

A And you are right. The CHP says they haven't had air speed enforcement on 17 for at least five years. The mountainous nature of the road, even through Scotts Valley, makes it difficult to perform these operations.

But the CHP air force does make flights over Highway 129 through the Watsonville area.

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