Water, potholes on Highway 101 in San Jose cause problems for drivers

Bay Area

SAN JOSE (KRON) – Things may change on Tuesday but we haven’t had significant rain in the Bay Area since spring.

So what’s with all the water that’s been causing problems and tormenting drivers on a stretch of Highway 101 in the South Bay? 

Anyone who has driven on Northbound 101 approaching the Northbound exit to 880 knows about the water bubbling up onto the pavement and the potholes.

Some have pretty much given up on washing their cars.

Caltrans has known about it and has been trying to fix the problem for months but it isn’t going away.

Water has been seeping up from the ground onto Highway 101 in San Jose for months, some say as long as two years.   

The water has undermined the pavement in spots and drivers have long complained about the potholes underneath that water.

The culprit, says Caltrans, is a very high water table in the area. 

It’s just a few feet below the surface in places says Caltrans spokesman Victor Gauthier.

“As that water increases, it rises up to the surface, some of that water finds its way to the roadway,” Gauthier said.  

Gauthier says crews are pumping 2.5-million gallons of water away from the area every day and watching the area closely.

“We have hydraulic engineers and a contractor out there. Just in serving the particular area, we’ve plugged up some of those leaks. We’ve grounded to areas and we’ve been doing some sealing in those particular areas where the water is coming up,” Gauthier said. 

“I know where it’s at now, so I switch lanes to try to avoid it,” Pete Campos said. 

Pete Campos drives through here every day and he worries that someone is going to get hurt.

“Everyday I drive through there and uh, you know you have cars swerving to avoid it, that can cause, you know that’s a hazard going into the other lane. I mean for people that can’t move out of the way or something, it can get really tight, you know, it can cause an accident for sure,” Campos said.   

You can see how the water has been taking a toll on the pavement as new cracks and potholes seem to appear as fast as they are filled.  

Some drivers fear the return of winter rains will only contribute to the problem.

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