Q I was very disappointed in you on Sunday by running Leslie Bailey's letter not only without comment, but as a suggestion for how to "handle speeders." She witnessed a neighbor throwing manure at a speeding car in a rural area and it appears that you condone this sort of thing. What Bailey's neighbor did was irresponsible and dangerous. I don't think that they'd be feeling quite so smug had they caused the driver to crash.
I have certainly entertained fantasies of tossing paint-filled balloons at rude drivers' cars or tearing valve stems off the tires of illegally/rudely parked cars, but these thoughts should remain just that: fantasies. This sort of vigilantism has no more place at the side of the road than it does on the road.
A And ...
Q Hey Gary, if Leslie Bailey and her manure-throwing friend want to be traffic cops, tell them to join the CHP. They are lucky that STUPID act didn't cause an accident. Your answer was out of character. What were you thinking?
A That I just wasn't my normal, sane, reasonable self that day?
Q What's the deal with Highway 87? It's sinking again. If you drive an older muscle car like I do, it really is an adventure to drive, not to mention dangerous. Any plans to fix it anytime soon?
A No! This can't be so. Just can't be.
This freeway opened in 1993 and in less than a year huge dips began to appear between Highway 85 and Interstate 280. It took more than 10 years and $25 million to fix the problem. Or so it seemed.
Engineers knew the mushy soil under the concrete would shift, as the highway is located near the Guadalupe River in an area prone to flooding that was once a swamp. They even packed an extra 10 to 20 feet of dirt on top of the elevated roadway and waited a year before removing the dirt and opening the freeway, giving it what they thought would be enough time to settle. But when parts of it sank as much as 21/2 feet, crews then punched pipes through the highway as deep as 27 feet, using grout to fill in voids below the surface where drains collapsed.
Caltrans will continue to dig out the concrete and level the bumpiest sections over the next couple of months, with plans to "permanently" address the settlement issue next year.
Q I've seen signs saying that Pruneridge Avenue will be closed completely at the end of March. Will construction on nearby Homestead be done by that date?
A Yes. Almost all Homestead work will be done before Pruneridge is closed. Homestead will be striped back to its original layout in a week or so.
Q Much of the vegetation along Highway 85 near Almaden Expressway has been removed. It certainly hasn't helped appearances. Additionally, now that vines that grew on the walls have been killed, I'm sure graffiti will increase. Why?
A Caltrans says because of the number of complaints of homeless encampments, some of the overgrowth vegetation and dead brush was removed and lower tree limbs cut back to eliminate shelter areas and make it harder for taggers to hide.