Here’s a question from a Road Warrior reader:

I have been driving Highway 101 from 37 to SF every day for several years (over 15). During this period, I had taken into account various areas of water flooding, such as the Corte Madera dip. The “dip” was the only major area that was concerning. Recently, there has been a major re-asphalting project for Highway 101, which works great in dry weather. However, during recent rains I have noticed that there were over a dozen new flooded areas, with severe hydroplaning occuring where there was nothing before. Here’s my question: Will Caltrans fix this poor drainage issue on their new asphalt or will we just have to live with this highly dangerous change? Peter

The answer comes from Caltrans spokesman Steve A. Williams, who says Caltrans engineers looked into it and believe that when the paving work is done, flooding won’t be a problem. He says some sections of the highway still need a final layer of asphalt that will allow water to drain off while other stretches only have part of the road paved, creating low spots. He says the entire project just needs three to four days of dry weather to be finished.

Here’s another question:

I recently got a ticket on the back roads near Stafford Lake in Novato by CHP radar.  Was cited for going 62 in a 50-mph speed limit area.  Do you know if it is a requirement for CHP to post their plans to use radar on a given road prior to setting up the speed trap?   Philip

The answer comes from CHP Officer Jon Sloat, the spokesman for the Sonoma County office. While his office doesn’t cover Novato, he says that before the CHP can use radar on a road, Caltrans or the county must survey the road to ensure that the posted speed limit is proper for that road. That certification is good for seven years and must be renewed for radar to continue to be used. Also, he says a sign must be posted “somewhere” in the county stating that radar is used to enforce speed limits.

So in Philip’s case, the sign doesn’t have to be on the back road he got nailed on. But he can check on the road’s radar certification by calling Caltrans or, in his case, Marin County’s transportation/public works department.


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  1. James Todd

    To Phillip,

    Where and how you got a ticket is NOT a “speed trap”, as you put it.
    People upset with sgetting a speeding ticket often use the term “speed trap” falsely without knowing the definition.
    It’s disgusting that you throw that term around as a way to try to make it seem like you didn’t deserve the ticket. Suck it up, drive the posted speed limit, and keep that in mind next time you get a ticket for driving at an unsafe speed.

    December 1st, 2012 10:07 am

  2. ian

    To the guy going 62 in a 50, unless you weren’t speeding, pay the ticket. The fact that you are used to getting away with something doesn’t make it right.

    December 1st, 2012 10:38 am

  3. Wilson

    CalTrans is playing CYA over the hydroplaning issue. It occurs EVERYWHERE that they have paved over the center divider for additional traffic lanes. If you remember your high school physics, you’ll know that flowing water follows the path of least resistance and you can’t put enough slope on a highway traffic lane to make any significant difference.

    The area around the Sonoma-Mendocino County line on 101 is treacherous to drive during heavy rains. I don’t want to think how bad it is going over the hills between Cotati and Petaluma now. Marin with their sound walls and no open center dividers makes Highway 101 a river during big storms since the water has nowhere to go. Poor planning = man-made dangerous driving conditions.

    December 1st, 2012 10:41 am

  4. Patrick

    To the second writer: You probably were speeding, so quit looking for a loophole and pay your ticket.

    December 1st, 2012 11:53 am

  5. wangofango

    “I recently got a ticket on the back roads near Stafford Lake in Novato by CHP radar. Was cited for going 62 in a 50-mph speed limit area ” LOL. Are you a fool? What is “back roads” supposed to imply—that the road is a tiny deserted roadway in the middle of nowhere? People have been killed along this stretch. Are you saying that speed limits shouldn’t apply to “back roads?” How about “front roads?”
    By the way, you can continue taking the “backroads” out past the Cheese Factory to Olema, Pt. Reyes Station and Bolinas and you’ll generally come across CHP somewhere along the way. Is it a “speedtrap?” Not really—just enforcement that catches people who don’t realize that a long straightaway or a windy ‘back road’ do NOT negate posted speed limits. You sound like a driver who thinks “stop” signs mean “slow down a bit.”, too. The “speed trap” is in YOUR thinking.

    December 2nd, 2012 1:36 pm

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