I hate Caltrans!

For the past two to three weeks, the stretch of Highway 1 known as “Devil’s Slide” has been closed, and it has been said to stay that way for an indefinite amount of time. Rumors have been tossed around like a volleyball, claiming the road may reopen anywhere from 3-6 months, up to a few years when the tunnel finally opens.

So how does this road closure affect this campus directly? Though it doesn’t affect it as a whole, it does affect me, and the handful of other students and faculty who happen to live in the coastal towns south of the slide.

What once was no more than a 20-minute commute has been violently thrust into at least an extra half hour on the road. The entire community in Half Moon Bay now has only one outlet into the surrounding communities of San Mateo around to Pacifica, which used to be just a hop skip and a jump up north. Trying to file all those residents off to school and work through just one road can become quite congested. The traffic build up can stall anyone for up to an hour just trying to get down highway one to 92. Neighbors and friends, stuck next to you, behind you, or god forbid in front of you, become bitter enemies, all trying to fight for that better traffic position.

In an effort to stagger the jam of cars, the high and junior high schools in Half Moon Bay have changed their hours of operation to start an hour later. This has helped, a little, but there are still many faculty members who need to be on campus earlier than that, and are still getting stuck in the traffic. As for the rest of us, the traffic is so inconsistent you can never properly judge when to leave.

So now that I’ve done my complaining, what is the point of it all? Well, my grudge isn’t with the other cars on the road, and it certainly isn’t with the road itself, my grudge is with those fellows which should be fixing the road, you know who they are, they’re Caltrans.

The Caltrans workers currently claim that they cannot do any work on the road as long as the weather keeps up with the current rainy trend. So basically, they say they can’t work until it gets all sunny and nice. Well good luck there, apparently Caltrans forgot they were in northern California.

What really makes me mad isn’t the fact that they won’t start working on fixing things now, but that they didn’t reinforce the whole road the last time the slide was out for over six months back in 1993-94. This is what brought the great debate between tunnel or bypass into the forefront. Yet it took over ten years to make the decision and get started on constructing the tunnel. I’m sure that they saw this coming. It was only a matter of time before the slide fell again. Seems it’s a little too ironic that the road closes right in the middle of construction.

So I guess that for the time being I, and the rest of the coastsiders will just have to grin and bear it.