Highway 37 reopening date postponed, frustration mounts

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In the North Bay, Caltrans has postponed a reopening date for Highway 37 which has been closed due to flooding for much of this winter. (KGO-TV)

In Marin County, this is the storm water that glows so beautifully in the dark, and causes such consternation for some 40-thousand commuters who use Highway 37 every day.

RELATED: Winter storms cause Bay Area roadway problems

Heavy rains, combined with King Tides, a broken levee, and debris clogging a creek, overran the highway, last week. CalTrans tells us it will remain closed until at least February 25th, leaving commuters between Marin, Sonoma, Vallejo, and Interstate 80 in uncertain limbo.

CalTrans has approved $8 million for a quick fix in the form of a corrugated steel wall designed to keep high waters back.

However, Highway 37's issues run deeper than that.

A three-mile section of Highway 37, built on marshland, has sunk two or three feet, leaving CalTrans seeking a long-term fix.

"We have a lot of work to do, here," said Bob Haus, who speaks for the agency and is not prone to understatements.

"They'll need to raise it," Dietrich Stroeh told us. He has some credentials--civil engineer, a member of the Flood Control Advisory Board, and is president of the Golden Gate Bridge District.

The most feasible alternate route to the still usable section of Highway 37 has become a slow parade, as what used to be four lanes of rush hour traffic now cram into just two along Atherton Avenue. Delays extend the trip by twenty-five minutes in either direction.

Commuters are anything but lonely.

The California Highway Patrol has begun to note signs of frustration. "We're writing citations for stop signs, speed, passing on the shoulder, cars going through cone patterns," Sgt. Ross Ingels of the CHP told us.

When aksed if the fines would be enough to pay for work on the highway, Ingles replied,"I doubt that."

So what can we count on--more closures or slowdowns along Highway 37.
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