Q. I’m writing to you about some of the walls along the 22 Freeway, especially west of Knott Street – they are letting vines grow and almost completely cover the sections of the wall with the oranges design on them. Is there any plan to take care of this?
– Earla Miller, Stanton
A. Well, kinda, Earla.
A little background: The 22, which was widened a dozen years ago, is dotted with 223 decorative panels in the sound walls, each with an average cost of more than 10 grand. Certainly not the most scenic freeway, and at times you feel like you are driving through a roomy hallway, but those panels are nice to look at.
Two factors work against frequent trimmings out there. Caltrans will, of course, give priority to any safety concerns when it comes to pruning and other maintenance, so vegetation blocking a sign or threatening to damage property will get done first. And doing work out there is more complex than Honk going into his back yard with his clippers.
“There’s also a lot of coordination required to keep our employees and the public safe when we go out to trim the vines,” Van Nguyen, a spokeswoman for Caltrans in Orange County, told Honk in an email. “The work must be done during the day, which requires at least one lane closure.”
A typical crew could include two trucks with big cushions on the back to block any errant drivers from the workers, a California Highway Patrol cruiser to boost safety, a bucket truck and so on.
“We do care about aesthetics on our highways, but safety is our first priority,” Nguyen said. “Since the vines are not a hazard, they will be trimmed at a later time so that our maintenance crew can respond to more urgent issues first.”
Q. What are the white, cylinder-shaped objects I have seen atop traffic-light poles in Anaheim?
– Jeffrey Maxson, Stanton
A. Traffic signals have various doo-dads attached to them: video-camera sensors to help change red lights to greens based on traffic flow; special sensors that can tell hustling police vehicles or ambulances need to get through intersections and change the lights; and, on rare occasions these days, cameras and lights meant to help spit out tickets to those who run red lights.
But the ones you are referring to are different, Jeffrey.
They are part of a WiFi system the city installed 15 years ago that was used by firefighters, police officers and public works and utilities folks and the like.
“We have since upgraded our system and no longer use this equipment,” said Lauren Gold, a city spokeswoman.
Those babies don’t hurt anything, and are in a sense part of the poles, so there are no plans to remove the 300 or so around town.
To ask Honk questions, reach him at email@example.com. He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online: ocregister.com/tag/honk.
Source: Orange County Register