Dear Street Smart:
I drive the northbound Santa Ana Freeway daily and, for over a year now, there has been a dip in the road at the Sand Canyon overpass that is quite jarring no matter what lane you are in or how good your shock absorbers are. Is Caltrans aware of this problem and are there any plans to fix it?
Caltrans is aware of the problem but hasn't pinpointed its cause, said Maureena Duran-Rojas, an agency spokeswoman. About a year ago, she said, department workers filled the depression with asphalt and concrete but, apparently, the road has settled once again. As a result of your letter, Duran-Rojas said, another temporary fix will be applied within a week. The department also will schedule an engineering evaluation to see why that location is sinking and determine how to fix it once and for all.
Dear Street Smart:
Does anyone really know how much crude oil is left in the Middle East and elsewhere? Barring any near-future interruptions, how much longer at the current rate of consumption will it last before the well runs dry?
No one really knows how much crude oil is left in the world, according to Gene Nowak, a senior energy analyst for Dean Witter Reynolds Inc. in New York. But however much there is, he said, it will probably last at least 100 years.
In fact, Nowak said, "you can assume that even a baby will still have oil for life and that it will probably still be a major commodity in the world."
The reason, he said, isn't that the amount of oil is growing; it is, after all, a finite resource that someday will run out. But not all the crude oil has been discovered, and the technology for locating and recovering it is constantly improving.
"All that means is that you can get a lot more oil out of the ground because, if you are very efficient, you can recover oil that might not otherwise be recovered," Nowak said.
Dear Street Smart:
Do you know if there is an Internet site that gives road condition information on the interstate highway system? We will be traveling through the West and Midwest this spring and summer and want to avoid construction sites if possible. Thanks for your help.
There are many Web sites devoted to traffic and road conditions. Most major urban areas have their own local sites containing such information. In Orange County, for instance, Caltrans District 12 maintains a site (http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist12) featuring a map of the county freeway system showing up-to-the-minute traffic and road conditions based on traffic sensors embedded in the pavement.
In addition, I've found three sites containing such information nationally, including for the areas you mention.
* Road Watch America Direct (http://www.rwa.metronetworks.com/ rwadirect.html). This site contains road conditions and road construction information for most major roads in the United States, including interstate highways.
* Construction Information (http://www.randmcnally.com/ tools/construc.htm). Rand McNally's database containing information on barricades, lane closures, detours and delays on the nation's highways. You can search by state, road or date.
* AccuTraffic (http://www.accutraffic.com/ accuinfo/bar.html).Contains traffic and road conditions for many major American cities.
Street Smart appears Mondays in The Times Orange County Edition. Readers are invited to submit comments and questions about traffic, commuting and what makes it difficult to get around in Orange County. Include simple sketches if helpful. Letters may be published in upcoming columns. Please write to David Haldane, c/o Street Smart, The Times Orange County Edition, P.O. Box 2008, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, send faxes to (714) 966-7711 or e-mail him at David.Haldane@latimes.com. Include your full name, address and day and evening phone numbers. Letters may be edited, and no anonymous letters will be accepted.