I-80 Gold Hill rest stop will re­main closed un­til Sept. 21

The Mercury News Weekend - - NEWS - Gary Richards Colum­nist Fol­low Gary at Twit­ter. com/mr­road­show, look for him at Face­book.com/mr.road­show or con­tact him at mr­road­show@ba­yare­anews­group.com or 408-920- 5037.

QWe just fin­ished driv­ing from Chicago back to Cal­i­for­nia, much of it on In­ter­state 80. A lot of the rest ar­eas were closed in Ne­braska and Ne­vada. Now Cal­i­for­nia seems to be fol­low­ing their bad habits.

You are told the next rest area is 40 miles ahead, only to find out just as you ar­rive at the next one that it’s closed. For in­stance, the­main rest area on 80 west is at Gold Hill. It’s in­con­ceiv­able that it would be closed at the height of the sum­mer travel sea­son. Do your Cal­trans sources have any info or help for this? — Kathy Craig, Lafayette

AThey sure do. Gold Hill is one of the most pop­u­lar rest ar­eas in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia, with a lot of his­tory ex­hibits and ar­ti­facts. When com­ing west, it is only about 30 miles west of the Don­ner Pass rest area so folks of­ten think “We’ll just go to the next one.”

But Gold Hill is closed un­til Sept. 21. The wa­ter sys­tem is be­ing up­dated, which re­quires a sub­stan­tial amount of dig­ging and mov­ing lots of earth. This can only be ac­com­plished safely in the sum­mer.

Most trav­el­ers know once you pass one rest area, you’re tak­ing a chance that the next might not be open. Go to www.dot.ca.gov and the Travel tab and the link for Road­side Rest Ar­eas in the right-hand menu. Or get the free Cal­trans Quick-Map app from the Ap­ple App Store or Google Play Store.

QI’ve been do­ing the com­mute from Tracy to the South Bay for 29plus years. How about an ex­tra lane on High­way 120 and a re­work of the 120-High­way 99 in­ter­change? And while you’re at it, four lanes on In­ter­state 5 from In­ter­state 205 to High­way 4 in Stock­ton in both di­rec­tions? That’s about the only way to (tem­porar­ily) free up 205 east­bound. — Mike Knapp, Tracy

AGood ideas that are now go­ing through en­vi­ron­men­tal stud­ies.

There is a project to widen 120 to three lanes in both di­rec­tions. And an­other project to re­con­struct the 120-99 in­ter­change to pro­vide new aux­il­iary lanes, a bridge for Austin Road and the Union Pa­cific Rail Road, con­struct ad­di­tional con­nec­tor lanes, re­align ramps and build lo­cal roads for ac­cess. Work could be­gin in three years and be done in 2023.

As for I- 5, it will be widened to four lanes each way from 205 to High­way 4 in Stock­ton in a few years.

QI was was driv­ing some Boy Scouts back froma trip on In­ter­state 680 in my van and fol­low­ing a fel­low tow­ing his boat with an out­board. He went over a bump and the out­board flew off his boat right in front of me. I was able to swerve and miss it. I was happy, and so were my Boy Scouts. — Ed Burl­ing, Monte Sereno A I bet they were.

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