New grass on East Bay freeway alarms some drivers

OAKLAND (KRON) — As California continues to cope with the drought, drivers on the Interstate 880 in Oakland have noticed an unusually green and well-watered stop of grass along the road.

This despite a state mandate to cut back on water usage.

Just a few feet away from the lush, green grass is a Caltrans sign reminding people to limit outdoor irrigation before of the drought.

It appears the sod wasn’t laid that long ago. Google Earth images show that the same strip was brown and dry last October.

In January, crews were seen landscaping the median.

According to officials with Caltrans, the grass was planed as part of a storm water treatment effort. They said that rain water washing of the freeway contains oils and pollutants.

The idea with the grass is that it, along with the surrounding soil will help filter out those pollutants before the water reached the bay.

Caltrans says that they are obligated under a permit from the regional water quality control board to install this type of storm water treatment system.

The transportation agency said that the sod was water with reclaimed water from a nearby waste water treatment plant in Oakland. Officials said that they are using a tanker truck to irrigate the land and that once the roots of the new grass have taken hold, they will stop irrigating all together. At that time, the grass should be able to survive on its own.

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