Roadshow: Studies to widen I-205 to get a green light

Q: With each passing day traffic on the Altamont Pass gets worse and worse, yet the current construction projects seem to be putting up concrete barriers making it more difficult to widen the freeway later. Being that they expect 60 percent more cars in the next 20 years, are they looking ahead? It’s already a mess.

Jessie Alvarez

A: Yes, they are looking ahead and it is a mess and may soon surpass Interstate 80 as our most congested freeway. In a few days the California Transportation Commission will likely approve a plan to begin studies to widen Interstate 205 from six to eight lanes. This would be a carpool lane and possibly an express or toll lane like I-580 in Alameda County.

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But widening I-205 is not going to solve the Altamont problem. Think trains. ACE will some day add new rail cars to its trains, but those cars are awaiting funding. Right now, ACE is limited to four trains a day by Union Pacific which owns the tracks. There is also a chance of a BART to ACE connection. Among the alternatives is a diesel train like the one planned at the Pittsburgh BART station.

Q: On southbound I-880 at Highway 237, we have the clunker ramp on the right for solo drivers and the BMW ramp on the left for express lane users to 237 west. The idea is that people taking 237 will look at the toll price and pick one or the other.

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Source:: The Mercury News

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