Q Am I the only one who thinks that the old Bay Bridge should have been left standing until the new bridge has been through a few earthquakes? Given the recent revelations about how shoddy the materials and design were executed it seems like a no-brainer. Besides the wrong bolts being used, now we find out that the sections are misaligned and there are defective welds.
A I understand your concern, but the new span even with its issues is much safer than the old eastern section, according to safety officials.
Q It is unbelievable that the Bay Bridge contractor was awarded almost $49 million in bonuses for supposedly finishing construction on time. It seems that the contractor cut corners to meet deadlines and that they do not deserve a bonus for such shoddy work. What gives?
A Your question led to a lengthy reply from Andrew-the-Bay-Bridge-Spokesman:
"An incentive does not affect the ability to hold contractors accountable, as the purpose is to motivate the contractor to work quickly and meet a specific scheduled milestone when time is of essence. In other words, if a contractor doesn't perform as required we have other remedies, such as withholding payment or requiring repairs and we still have those at our disposal."
The Bay Bridge program authorized $63.4 million in incentives; the contractor met milestones to earn $48.9 million.
Adds Andrew: "If there is work that is not completed to the satisfaction of Caltrans, payment can be withheld; the suspension span contractor's contract has not been fully paid, as work is still ongoing."
Q How long before the old Bay Bridge is dismantled?
A Best case would be late 2016 if underwater work goes well, but it could be as late as 2018.
Q The Benicia-Martinez Bridge has plenty of signs indicating that the carpool lane is three or more persons per vehicle, but not a single sign indicating that no carpool is allowed on weekends. After going through the carpool lane one weekend with two friends and receiving a ticket, I learned the lesson that apparently everyone knows, according to one of the toll booth operators.
Yet every weekend when I cross the bridge I see people zooming through the carpool lane, completely unaware that they may soon get a ticket.
A Bridge officials say there are changeable message signs on northbound I-680 before the bridge that should make the status of the far left lane clear: It is only for carpools with three or more people Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and again from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. At all other times, the far left lane is for FasTrak users only.
Q I have asked my friends and they all have wondered about my question. Hope you can answer.
Leaving Target on Cochrane Road in Morgan Hill toward 101 north, the light before the onramp has a sign saying stop here on red, but it does not say no turn on red. Is it legal to turn on the red light, as long as you stop and it's clear to do so?
A It sure is.
Q I am mystified that such a convenient (easy parking especially) and busy DMV office is closed in Concord. What happened?
A The office is closed for renovations and should reopen by Oct. 1.