A court recently called a halt to Caltrans' reconstruction of the Niles Canyon highway. I am glad for that and I'll tell you why. That section of Highway 84 is a designated scenic corridor and should not be decimated by a Caltrans-inflated vision of what a highway should be. It says its justification for spending a large sum of money on the road is that there are an inordinate number of accidents, including some that involve deaths. I can believe that and the problem should be dealt with. But it can be dealt with simply, inexpensively and effectively while preserving the scenic corridor flavor.
The 45 mph speed limit should be reduced to 35 or even 30 and through-trucks be limited to those under 15,000 pounds gross. These measures would calm traffic and reduce accidents, particularly the most violent ones and their resulting deaths. Caltrans' justification for reconstruction would be met, only simply and inexpensively.
If Caltrans has several tens of millions of extra dollars to spend in this geographic area, I would suggest spending it on the bone-jarring I-680 between Pleasanton and Sunol.
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