San Jose’s ‘Lake 101’ and other flooded roadway tales: Roadshow

Q: There is water coming from below southbound Highway 101 just north of the 13th Street exit in San Jose. It happens 365 days a year. Does anyone know the source of this leak?

Mark Sanchez, Gilroy

A: When this road was being constructed, Caltrans wanted to raise the roadbed here because the underground water table is very close to the surface. Local officials wanted to keep the road sunken so that views would not be blocked in nearby areas. In addition to the leak you describe, any rain easily leads to flooding here. I dubbed this area Lake 101 several years ago. Caltrans periodically patches the leaking area as well as they can, but it is going to occur again and again.

Q: Why is Caltrans opposed to installing signs that read “roadway subject to flooding” on westbound and eastbound 237 from Interstate 880 to Great American Parkway?

As 237 is prone to flooding from east of Zanker to the Great American Parkway when it rains, instead of dispatching a crew to put up temporary signs warning about flooding, Caltrans should install permanent signs.

Conrad Schapira

A: Caltrans prefers to put up temporary signs, believing that permanent signs would be ignored by drivers.

Q: I was just traveling between Sunnyvale and San Francisco on 101. Northbound traffic was greeted by an arcing wall of water coming over the median barrier, thanks to water pooling and then being driven over the median by traffic in one of the southbound Lexus Lanes.

There are far too many places along those Lexus Lanes between SFO and 84 where that happens, and it is only a matter of time before someone is  seriously killed or injured, either by losing it when hit with a wall of water from the other side of the road or from losing control when hydroplaning. And it will be the fault of the state for allowing those lanes to be opened.

Those lanes must be closed until the state can guarantee drainage and ensure safety.

Rick Jones, Sunnyvale

A: The toll lanes will not be closed, but the state will come out to make sure that all drainage areas are in good working order.

Q: The lane stripes and white button markers are very hard to see on southbound 880 between the 237 interchange and Brokaw. Northbound markings are less affected, but still sparse. I suspect that the southbound lane markings issue is exaggerated by the sun being low in the sky and
causing more reflection in that direction.

Who is responsible for addressing this hazard?

Guy K. Haas, Milpitas

A: The state will restripe this road in the near future.

Look for Gary Richards at or contact him at [email protected].

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