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Highway 101 construction - what is the latest?

Original post made by Driver on Apr 20, 2014

I have been patiently (?) waiting for the work to end and all lanes to open. I have been trying to find out from the plethora of information googling brings as to what exactly we will have.

Can anyone explain it in plain English?

These articles seem to be in conflict.

Thank you.

Web Link

Web Link

Comments (18)

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 20, 2014 at 10:15 am

You have a point. I am also confused.
There has also been a large print newspaper ad, which I saved, about a "North County Open House - updates on local VTA projects" - which apparently took place on April 9 - it includes a bullet: "SR 85 and US 101 Express Lanes" and invites comments -- send to although I don't know the timeframe for when comments are accepted; "your active participation is valued" however one should visit the website and when I went to that, I found confusing stuff and no material info, at least in a cursory look.
I oppose making the carpool or "auxiliary" lane(s) into Fasttrak required lanes with toll. We don't have any Fastrak transponders as we rarely go across the area bridges but it seems this is a scheme to force many more people to enroll in that database and get the transponder because they might choose to use those lane(s) which require the transponder.
We HAVE a carpooler in our family and wish to continue to make use of the carpool lane on 101. It is unclear to me if that person would now have to get the transponder to continue that practice.
We already paid dearly for these highway improvements/widening with our tax dollars; it appears they are intent on charging us more, perhaps with a variable cost depending on time of day of transit or congestion levels.

Posted by Look here, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Mr roadshow covered this topic recently see. Web Link

Posted by Look here, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Oh and the thing I care about is longer merge lanes will be a part of this. If you have ever driven south on 101 during commute times, Embarcadero and Oregon merging onto the freeway is a huge bottleneck. Some of these lanes that connect on ramps to off ramps are already open. Northbound 101, the amphitheater on ramp connects to the San Antonio off ramp.

Posted by Palo Altan, a resident of Duveneck School
on Apr 20, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Thank you, Look Here, for the link. Bottom line, according to article is:

"Caltrans will start paving 101 around May 12 and is shooting to complete paving and widening before July 4. This $72 million job will add auxiliary lanes in both directions along 101 from 85 to Embarcadero Road. There will be some minor ramp work and other items to complete later in the summer.

Bernie-the-Caltrans-Man says "people are under the impression that because it's warm out that we should be paving, but the nighttime temperatures are still too cold. This paving is of rubberized hot mix asphalt that requires a minimum temperature of 55 degrees."

And how about the last three summers?

Posted by Look here, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2014 at 3:40 pm

They weren't finished building it., so it could not be paved yet. Paving is last. Now if you real question is "why did it take so long?", I got nothing.

Posted by waste of money, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 20, 2014 at 5:00 pm

This whole project is a $100 million boondoggle that came out of county sales tax money. I can understand spending car registration money on projects like this, but there are lots of better projects for general fund money including improving fixing school buildings and public transit.

Posted by Look Here, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2014 at 1:01 pm

waste of money,

It comes out of the 1/2 cent sales tax that voters agreed on for transportation projects, not the general fund.
School buildings are not eligible.

Posted by Me First!, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Get ready for more headaches once 101 is fixed, thanks to driver's attitudes.
I'm seeing this already: Cars zip over to the far right to go into the open "longer exit/merge lanes". They speed up and then will force their way back over into the non exit lane at the last minute. This causes quick braking by others to avoid a collision, and that gets passed back down the line of traffic.
The "exit lane passers" are causing more traffic jams than the lanes fix, so don't expect free flowing traffic nirvana. The jerks will make sure to blow it for the rest of us.
Why do so many people in cars become so selfish on the roads?!?!

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 21, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Yes, Me First!, they need some bigtime CHP or police enforcement to prevent rude drivers from pretend-exiting and then re-entering the highway about 20 cars ahead in heavy traffic. I hate drivers who pull stunts like this and it does jam up the freeway worse.

Posted by Look Here, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Me First!

True, it might attract "dive bombers" which like anonymous correctly points out is a ticket-able offense. Even with that possibility, I still think it will be better than what exists today, i.e. all lanes of the freeway slow way down because of the Oregon / Embarcadero / SB101 merge from hell.

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 21, 2014 at 4:03 pm

So that's a good question. Clearly it's a hanging offense for a freeway driver to shift rightward into the merge lane to pass 20 cars and then force back into the thru lane. But what is the proper protocol for an ethical driver legitimately entering the freeway with this kind of continuous exit/merge lane? Can you pass anyone on their right before merging? Do you continue to the end of the merge lane before merging, or do you bottle-up everyone behind you while slowing to a crawl to merge early in the lane? Do you shoot for halfway down the lane? And are those who are exiting the freeway expected to get into the merge/exit lane early or late along its length? A lot of people will look like jerks even while trying to do the right thing. Any advice? I'm not a freeway commuter, but likely will face this on occasion.

Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 21, 2014 at 4:37 pm

@musical - If you see an opportunity to merge early, without blocking traffic behind you, go for it. Otherwise, merge as late as possible.

And a pox on drivers who use the merge lane as a passing lane..

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 21, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Thanks, Mr Recycle, but other drivers will think I'm a jerk for merging as late as possible, or even mistake me for one of those lane jumpers.

Posted by Signal, a resident of Meadow Park
on May 15, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Musical, I share your concerns. I signal right when exiting and continue to signal for the length of the offramp. Merging late (but not too late :) is fine and helps traffic flow.

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on May 15, 2014 at 5:14 pm

It's those six drivers stopped to merge late at the end who make me want to use the shoulder to exit.

Posted by IMHO, a resident of Duveneck School
on May 15, 2014 at 5:58 pm

Always signal when merging because it's polite and people feel better about letting you in. Merging late does make the driver look like a selfish a** who is trying to pass up others who are waiting in line. Merge as soon as you can.

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on May 15, 2014 at 9:37 pm

Well no consensus here about when to merge. And no guidance from the DMV. At least drivers seem to be in agreement that the leftmost lane is best for deep conversation on the cell phone.

Posted by Merge Late, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 17, 2014 at 12:20 am

OK, having been a freeway commuter for several decades (including many different north/south origins and destinations) I believe the most efficient merge strategy is to stay in your merge lane until it actually forces the merge into the through traffic. This is not a selfish act, it is simply orderly and expected.

When people merge earlier than necessary, everyone behind them in the merging traffic moves forward in the merge lane and merges farther ahead of those already in the through-traffic lane. The result is MORE people merge into the traffic lane which further slows down the through-traffic.

Bottom line: merge into through traffic as late as possible, otherwise other merging drivers simply pass you and cut in up ahead.

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