Roadshow: Why no median barrier at site of deadly I-5 crash?

Q Television reports after the horrible bus-truck collision on Interstate 5 near Orland last month that killed 10 people showed there was no barrier to prevent the FedEx truck from crossing the median directly into the bus which was traveling north. Why?

Marie Diaz

A There hasn’t been a history of crossover crashes here, where the median is 58 feet wide in one of the lightest traveled stretches of I-5 in the state, carrying just 24,000 vehicles a day. Caltrans says only one similar crash had taken place within two miles of the site in the past four years.

However, state officials will review the final CHP accident report and could decide to install at least a chain cable, if not a guardrail or concrete barrier.

This tragedy brings back bad memories in the South Bay. In 1995 and 1996, seven people were killed on Highway 85, where there was no median barrier for several miles. The dirt median was a mere 46 feet wide.

Those deaths prompted the state to install barriers on 400 miles of high-volume freeways with medians up to 75 feet. The new guidelines applied to freeways carrying 63,000 or more vehicles a day or with a high rate of crossover crashes. More than 102,000 vehicles use 85 every day at Saratoga Avenue, where several deaths occurred.

Q I live in an area where several cars have had their windows broken and the contents of the glove box stolen. What alternatives do I have if my registration is stolen? Now that we have digital proof of insurance, where is digital proof of registration?

Also, if my registration is stolen, can I use a copy of the registration?

Horace Hines

A Yes. State law requires the use of the registration card, but a photocopy is acceptable. Residents also may remove registration documents from their vehicles when it is parked and simply replace them when using their car.

But a bill working its way through Sacramento would authorize the DMV to explore alternatives to its registration cards, license plates and stickers.

Q We just got back from Ashland, Ore., and about 25 miles south of there is a seven-mile stretch of road work being done. Not all of it is single-laning, but there’s quite a bit of it. Drivers might need to allow some extra time for that area. It looked as if the work might take years.

Sue Kemp

Palo Alto

A Try six months. Caltrans is working at the Anderson Grade and at the Shasta River and Klamath River bridges. All are expected to be completed by October. Typically, any backup is due to large trucks climbing the steep grade. The state says it has received only a few complaints.

Q I’m probably not the only whiner about the change on Coleman Avenue at the new soccer stadium in Santa Clara. The narrowing of lanes from three to two at that location is idiocy and creates long backups, especially in the afternoon.

John Luebben

A It’s temporary. Lanes will be back to normal in a couple of months.

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