Q: I wrote several years ago about sinking pavement transitioning from northbound Interstate 280 onto Highway 87. At the time, you said, “Caltrans is aware of it and is devising a plan to address it.”
That seems to be their standard answer. The area I noted has been this way for at least four years now.
I know I echo many residents in the Santa Clara Valley when I say how bad our roads are! I voted yes for taxes associated with SB1 several years ago, but really see no improvement (except recently reviving Highway 17 through Campbell into Los Gatos). I will not vote yes on any proposed state or local road improvement ballot measures until I see tangible improvements to our roads.
Mark Milioto Sr., San Jose
A: The state has set aside more than $50 billion to smooth out roads over the next decade. The challenge is that the need is much greater than that, and the need has increased with all the rain these last three weeks.
Q: Roads in the Bay Area are in deplorable condition everywhere.
Interstate 880 through Fremont has become so rough and the noise level from it so high that I wear earplugs to protect my hearing. (We hear about air pollution, but noise pollution is significant, as well. Hearing loss is permanent!).
It seems like Caltrans took advantage of the pandemic to forge ahead on pet projects and neglected basic responsibilities.
Is there any way to compel Caltrans to prioritize restoration and maintenance of our roadways so they are at least safe to drive on? Who makes their decisions and who do they answer to?
A: Caltrans has begun to prioritize maintenance over some other projects. Significant rain damage is going to require even more of that.
Q: After reading the recent front page story about potholes, I counted the potholes as I drove 101 in both directions between Whipple Avenue and 92.
I counted at least 46 potholes, varying in size from 1 to 15 feet long, within that 9-mile freeway stretch, 7 on the southbound route and 39 on the northbound route.
This roadway was completely renovated within the past 2 years. Until December, it had fresh, smooth, quiet pavement that was a joy to drive on.
I expect better results when Caltrans spends millions of dollars, and say a contractor owes us answers. Is this recently-completed project really degrading so badly so soon? And what does Caltrans say about this?
Richard Thomas, Redwood City
A: You’re right. This renovation should have held up better than it has. Roads and repairs need to handle greater extremes of weather now, from September’s searing heat dome to the deluge of recent days.
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