The condition of Interstate 680, first paved when Lyndon Johnson was president, has been a long-standing hot topic among residents in the Tri-Valley.
About 20 concerned residents from Danville, Alamo and San Ramon took advantage of the opportunity to discuss that issue Friday, as well as other transportation concerns in the valley, with Randy Iwasaki, former Caltrans director and current executive director of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority.
Many residents told Iwasaki they were worried about the safety of motorists during work on the , including hazards from shifting lanes and K-rails, or concrete barriers, that are coming along with the roadwork.
Iwasaki said K-rails, the concrete barriers up in parts of Interstate 680 during construction, are used to separate the workers from motorists, for safety.
"As a transportation official, safety is my top priority," he said.
Potholes, noise and other nuisances from the freeway also were discussed as well as the funding for projects.
"We are going to appreciate not having broke pavement on 680," said Danville Mayor Karen Stepper.
Iwasaki said the newly paved I-680, which he expects to be completed by the end of 2012, will use noise reducers such as rubberized asphalt.
In response to residents' questions about why freeway maintenance isn't done sooner, he said transportation agencies try to fund highest priority projects first. He also said they need to "find innovative ways to fund" projects with limited resources.
Iwasaki said they are starting to move into funding projects based on performance. That is, how can a transportation project benefit the county, state or nation best.
"Much of our transportation money comes from outside of the town boundaries," said Tai Williams, transportation director for the Town of Danville.
Iwasaki also gave an update on the Caldecott Tunnel project.
He said the new tunnel on the Contra Costa County side is about one-third punched through and about 20 to 25 feet through on the Oakland side. He said he hoped the two-lane tunnel would bring more trade to the area.
Watch a video of Iwasaki's presentation here.