Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
After reading in Wednesday’s Bulletin about Caltrans’ proposals to improve the unsafe conditions on the 120 Bypass, I had a few ideas of my own that I thought might be helpful.
Caltrans suggests that putting up signs every mile alerting drivers that they are now one mile closer to Highway 99 will somehow make impatient drivers slow down and drive more carefully. The wisdom of this approach eludes me, but they are the experts. However, I think that rather than additional signage, it would be more driver friendly to have, at the three mile mark, three Caltrans workers leaning on shovels bs-ing, at the two mile mark, two Caltrans workers leaning on shovels bs-ing, and so on. Just the sight of those workers standing around shooting the breeze should infuriate drivers to the point that they will forget where they are and where they were going, until they suddenly find themselves on the transition ramp to Highway 99 and can proceed safely on their way.
The second part of the Caltrans solution, a large video screen located between Airport Way and Union Road, showing drivers stuck in bumper to bumper traffic that the reason that they are crawling along is because there are cars moving very slowly in front of them should help immensely. Without that live feed, drivers might erroneously conclude that the reason for the slowdown they find themselves in is that a herd of wildebeest is crossing the road ahead, or perhaps that an alien spacecraft has made an emergency landing in the roadway. The confusion that this uncertainty would most certainly cause could not be helpful.
Another idea that might improve safety, though not suggested by Caltrans officials, would be an electronic sign on Interstate 5, which at peak commute hours would close the 120 Bypass to all truck traffic, and redirect trucks to use Lathrop Road to connect to Highway 99 instead, at least until the changes to the 120 Bypass are completed sometime in the future. But that’s probably a long shot because it might actually work.