Q: When will the Sunol Grade improvements be completed, especially widening at the Highway 84 junction at Interstate 680? … Traffic is terrible there. … Are there plans to widen Highway 84 and improve the interchange at Interstate 680? It took me two hours to drive home to Pleasanton from San Jose one night before the pandemic, and 1½ hours was very normal even with no traffic incidents.
Mark Spencer, David Kiwa and Dave Kelly
A: Improvements are coming over the next two or three years, such as converting 84 into an expressway between Ruby Hill Drive and I-680, improving ramps and extending the existing southbound I-680 toll lane by 2 miles, realigning a low-speed curve in Niles Canyon, widening shoulders on straightaways near Sunol, upgrading guard rails, and removing some trees and utility poles close to the road.
Caltrans will also install traffic signals on Highway 84 in Sunol at Main Street and Pleasanton-Sunol Road and electronic speed warning signs at dangerous locations.
Q: Will a truck ban ever be put in on Highway 84 to avoid rigs going so slow or getting stuck on the curves?
F. Reyes, Livermore
A: It’s very unlikely. A truck ban was explored several years ago, but Caltrans found that banning big rigs would not reduce collisions, and the effort has mostly been abandoned. In addition, a ban would send 900 trucks onto Mission Boulevard in Fremont and I-680, trading one problem for another.
Q: One of your columns at the beginning of sheltering-in-place was about the 76 Gas Station on San Carlos and Bird in San Jose that was offering full service so that folks could have contactless gas fill-ups. Well, I have been there twice, and both times the young man who came out to fill my tank didn’t have a mask on. The first time, it was hanging around his neck, and he put it on when I asked him to. The next time, another employee didn’t even have a mask to put on as he filled up my tank and transacted the sale with me through the window.
I felt very unsafe as I’m nearly 65. How ironic is it that a gas station should market itself as full service during this pandemic and then send its employers out to provide the full service without a mask. I think this deserves a follow-up from you, gently, or not so gently, chiding the gas station for this irony.
I was hoping to make this my go-to-station, but I’m not going back unless they get with the program.
A: Let’s try the gentle approach first. Let’s see if mentioning this will help, continue to use your own mask, and give them another chance.
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Author: Gary Richards