Q Mr. Roadshow, your statement that the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge is much safer than the old span was stupid and stated without proper thought.
You, my friend, are going to eat your words. You know darn well that the new eastern span has safety flaws, but you're like everyone else who has no guts to speak the truth. Think before you open your mouth. Don't be afraid to say what you really know and believe. The old bridge functioned well for many, many years. When the big quake happens, the new bridge will have devastating issues. You know it; you just don't want to say it.
Now that you know my opinion, tell the people your opinion. Your true opinion.
I am sure you will wastebasket this email.
A Not a chance. I love your passion, but I think you are wrong.
Safety officials told this newspaper a year ago that a quake similar to the 1906 San Francisco temblor could affect the bridge for hours or days. While it should be OK to drive on, motorists could experience closed lanes and slow speeds. Repairs could be needed for bridge sections that shifted inches or feet, and jammed expansion joints would have to be covered with steel plates. Repairs could take months.
Brian-the-Caltrans-Engineer had this to say: "Hey, don't think you are going to drive across the Bay Bridge after a major earthquake at 70 miles per hour sipping your coffee and reading your email. There are no guarantees in earthquakes. We are going to have damage."
But if the new span would be battered yet operational after a major quake, the bridge it is replacing would be devastated. It could simply collapse, causing deaths and closing it for months or years.
Q I was returning home from San Bruno to the East Bay on Interstate 280 about 4 p.m. on a weekday. I took the exit to Highway 101 north. Boy, what a mistake. I got stuck in the bottleneck at "Hospital Curve," and although there was a sign saying 40 minutes to Berkeley, it actually took 80 minutes.
Hospital Curve has been the worst bottleneck in existence anywhere in the Bay Area (and possibly the world!) for the past 45 years or more. Is Caltrans EVER going to do ANYTHING to alleviate this problem?
A Rod-the-Caltrans-Man said: "This is an easy one. The simple answer to Ms. Hill's question is no.
"Calling it the 'worst bottleneck in existence anywhere in the Bay Area (and possibly the world!)' is a bit of a hyperbole, but there's no question traffic through that segment of Route 101 can be pretty bad, especially during the afternoon commute.
"It would take more than just a lane through the hospital curve section to make any kind of improvement. It would need to be added from about the I-280 interchange to the Bay Bridge. All of that area of San Francisco is fully developed up to the freeway right of way line, so a lot of new right of way would be needed. Even if this widening were environmentally, financially and politically feasible, you'd still be left with the Bay Bridge bottleneck. Any improvement would be modest at best. Widening would not be worth the cost."