Q. Hi Honk. In the northern part of Los Angeles County, the I-5 is being widened to add HOV lanes through the Santa Clarita Valley. What is the orange, temporary fencing marking off? I have noticed the mesh fencing on off-ramps and on-ramps and on the side of the freeway in the brush. My first guess is the fencing shows where earth will be removed to create more room for the new HOV lanes. However, at some points the fencing seems randomly placed. It runs on and off for 10, 15 miles along the interstate.
— Michelle Moyer, Castaic
A. It isn’t a Christo creation but rather ESA fencing – environmentally sensitive area fencing.
“It is to protect, or to show what areas are environmentally sensitive,” said Patrick Chandler, a spokesman for LA Metro.
It keeps workers from straying into spots that hold valued plants or critters. In this case, Chandler said, the protected are oak trees and riparian habitat.
The project, by the way, is massive.
Besides a carpool lane in each direction from Parker Road, in your town, Michelle, to State Route 14, there will be an extended northbound truck lane, a new soundbound one, sound walls, and more freeway lanes between some ramps.
LA Metro and Caltrans are overseeing the improvements, which are slated for completion in 2026 – so expect that ESA fencing to hang around for a while.
Q. Greetings, Honk. I remember a time when mud flaps were required on vehicles such as trucks that had tires that extended beyond the wheel wells. Now it seems fashionable and all the rage to go without them. Did the law change? If not, why is it not being enforced? I find it very rude, disrespectful and irresponsible of vehicle owners when they kick up rocks that hit other vehicles on the road.
— Tim Brown, Riverside
A. Irritating, and sometimes costly, when your windshield or hood gets tagged with a pebble, right?
Well, the law remains the same.
If the rear tires extend out beyond the fenders, or there aren’t fenders, the car or truck needs flaps – whether a behemoth big rig or a tiny sedan.
Jake Sanchez, an officer and spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, said motorcycles are exempt.
Tough to tell if the law is being enforced as much as back in the day, Tim. But Honk did chat with the officer about this.
“Ultimately, the CHP is going to enforce the most dangerous and atrocious violations,” Sanchez said.
He rattled off a couple of the lesser traffic violations – no front license plate, lack of a taillight cover, tinted front, side windows – and then mentioned a speeder going 90 mph, or a driver carelessly weaving back and forth over different lanes.
In the end, he pointed out, it is up to each patrol officer to decide what offenses to focus on.
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Source: Orange County Register