Bristol/La Veta Bridge Over Freeway to Open in June

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Dear Street Smart:

In a Los Angeles Times article ("Freeway Project to Pose New Obstacles," Jan. 27), regarding the June closing of the Main Street overpass of the Santa Ana Freeway, the article shows the only local alternate route as Broadway.

The problem is, the Main Street transit from Orange to the western portion of Santa Ana is already congested morning and night due to the revision of the La Veta/Bristol connection over the Santa Ana Freeway, and that project, we have heard, is not due to be completed until the end of 1993.

What I'd like to know is why the La Veta/Bristol revision cannot be completed before the Main Street Bridge is started.

The Main Street Bridge has been there since 1953. Can six more months make that much difference?

Graham Gilmer Jr., Orange

The new Bristol Street/La Veta Avenue Bridge will be completed and open to traffic in June, said Barry Rabbitt, Caltrans deputy district director of construction. With that project taken care of, workers can proceed with reconstruction of the Main Street Bridge over the Santa Ana Freeway in July, Rabbitt said.

The Main Street Bridge will be closed for two years, Rabbitt said. During that time, Main Street traffic will be handled by a detour that will cross over the Santa Ana Freeway on the Broadway Bridge. Bristol Street/La Veta Avenue will serve as an alternate route, Rabbitt said.

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Dear Street Smart:

I am wondering if you could shed some light on why it is when I drive around town, I see an incredible number of vehicles emitting obviously excessive exhaust emissions. I can hardly drive anywhere without having to change lanes or get away from numerous vehicles that are gagging me with their exhaust emissions.

I thought all cars had to be inspected and pass a smog check periodically. Why is it that there are so many smog-spewers out there? Can the rest of the us turn in these license numbers somewhere to get these cars either repaired or off the road? If not, why am I bothering to pay good money to keep my cars properly tuned?

Mark A. O'Connell, Irvine

You're right that vehicles must undergo a smog check every other year and motorists are required to submit the results of that test along with their vehicle registration fee to the Department of Motor Vehicles. However, there is an extra step that can be taken to ensure the air you breathe on the roadway is cleaner.

The next time you're driving and you notice something in the air, call 1-800-CUT-SMOG. This toll-free number, established by the Air Quality Management District, allows motorists to report smoking cars.

Callers can remain anonymous, but they need to provide some basic information about the offending vehicle, Paula Levy, spokeswoman for AQMD, said. Callers need to give the license plate number of the smoking car, date and time it was spotted and the precise location.

Levy said AQMD personnel use DMV records to find the address of the vehicle's owner and then mail a letter stating that a motorist witnessed the vehicle smoking and explaining the state laws about exhaust emissions. The letter also requests a response from the owner of the vehicle.

About 25% of motorists who receive a letter send back a reply that they have repaired their vehicles, Levy said.

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Dear Street Smart:

Could you please tell me how far back insurance companies can go to check your driving record? I have heard it is only three years, but I have heard the Department of Motor Vehicles keeps records for seven years.

Do you have to tell the insurance company you had an accident, say, 3 1/2 years ago? How about a DUI? Can't insurance companies just check with the DMV?

Susan Irvin, Garden Grove

Insurance companies can delve three years deep into DMV records to determine if a motorist has been involved in any accidents or accrued any traffic tickets, said Elena Stern, spokeswoman for the California Department of Insurance. However, if a motorist is picked up for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or for driving recklessly, those offenses remain part of the public record for seven years and insurance companies do have access to that information, Stern said.

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Dear Street Smart:

What are those large towers near the intersection of South Fairview Street and West Warner Avenue in Santa Ana? Are they part of the radar for John Wayne Airport?

Don Smith, Laguna Hills

Those towers are microwave relay stations owned by Pacific Telesis. The stations are used to enhance cellular phone communications.

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