Roadshow: Barricaded office worker wonders who's to blame for The Alameda mess


Gary Reyes, Bay Area News Group
Construction on The Alameda near Race Street in San Jose, December 2013.

Q As I sit barricaded in my office building, surrounded by orange cones on all streets north of The Alameda, I am wondering who the hell is in charge of the months-long fiasco called The Alameda resurfacing project? They were in such a hot hurry to tear up the asphalt and now nothing but cones, a couple hundred tons of equipment parked on the side streets and hordes of guys in orange vests standing around. Do I sound perturbed?

Tim Lundell

A You do, but the end should be near. There was a four-week delay to begin the project due to what the city calls “unforeseen conditions” under the pavement on The Alameda and Santa Clara Street. The original schedule that broke The Alameda into four segments had to be thrown out the window. If workers had stuck to original plans of performing the work in segments, they would have been in front of the Arena in late September and early October, which is the start of the Sharks season. The goal at this point is to complete paving before the hockey season from I-880 to Highway 87 at the same time. Paving should begin this week from 880 south and all major work should be completed by Sept. 5. Striping and utility adjustments will be completed shortly after that.

Q I was very excited to see the new meter light installed from Fremont Avenue onto southbound Highway 85. Please tell me it will be turned on soon. The congestion from Fremont Avenue onto 85 is horrible! … Traffic backs up all the way to 101 on 85 south and I firmly believe that metering lights on the entry ramps at Fremont Avenue and El Camino Real will certainly help.

Cheryl Maguire, Shreenivasa Venkataramaiah, Dave Schoenwald and many more

A By the end of this year, says Caltrans.

Q Gary, we have a newly paved, striped and metered onramp to south and north Highway 85 at Fremont Avenue. The lights are not turned on yet, but a new sign is up that indicates that carpool hours at this ramp are in effect 24 hours a day. Will the carpool lane on 85 also be 24/7? Are there other places where we can expect this? This is the first 24-hour sign I have seen in our area.

Diana Ross

Sunnyvale

A Almost all carpool lanes at onramps from city streets are in effect 24 hours a day, seven days a week and that has been the case for a couple of decades. However, carpool ramps linking one freeway to another usually are in place from 5 a.m. to 9 or 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The carpool hours on Highway 85 will remain in place just during the morning and evening commutes, as they are now.

Q I just got through reading your column about the E-ZPass phishing scam that is going around saying we owe money for using a toll road and didn’t pay. I received one of these emails. I knew it was spam because I have FasTrak, not E-ZPass. My question: How did these spammers get my information and that I have an electronic toll transmitter? Are people that don’t have FasTrak getting these emails? Can you shed any light on this?

Richard Sinkler

San Leandro

A This scam email is going out to both FasTrak and non-FasTrak customers. Ignore it. People who click on the link run the risk of downloading information that could infect their computers and potentially steal personal information. If you respond with the requested credit card or bank account information, you are setting yourself up for identity theft.

Q What can we do about speeders in the South Bay on local streets? They go 35-40 mph in 25 zones in so many places.

Dolores H.

San Jose

A They better not this Labor Day weekend. Campbell police will be just one agency conducting DUI checkpoints on Friday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Campbell Avenue west of Winchester Boulevard.

Q What will the carpool/express lane hours be on Interstate 580 through Castro Valley? Will they be in effect during regular commute times only or will they extend most of the day from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., as is the case on I-680 down the Sunol Grade?

Joe Reyes

 

A The hours of operation will match current HOV hours, from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. However, it is possible that this could change. Caltrans will make the final decision before the projected opening next year.

Q I was hoping you might have some insight into the recent construction on Highway 37 just west of Vallejo. I commute every day from Benicia to Santa Rosa, which is not fun, but I now have my hopes up that lane expansion relief might be on the horizon. … Parts of my commute from Concord have included Highway 37 in both directions at different times of the day. It seems the two-lane section through the wetlands is a constant traffic jam. When is this section slated for improvement? Recently there was a lot of big equipment clearing brush and hopefully getting ready to grade. Please tell me that they are widening Highway 37.

Adam Erwin-Martinetti, Michael Healy, Shirley Cotell and plenty more

 

A Sad to say, no. What you are seeing is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service project with a group called “Ducks Unlimited” to restore land near Highway 37 to wetlands. Crews have been excavating the land nearby and have been granted a permit from Caltrans for later work to build an entrance and exit to the property adjacent to the highway.

Caltrans will be repaving Highway 37 between Vallejo and the Sonoma County line around Sept. 20. That will require closing the highway for two weekends and possibly five weekday nights.

 

 

Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow, follow him at Twitter.com/mrroadshow or contact him at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5335.