BAKERSFIELD, CA - Hundreds of homeowners await the fate of a southwest neighborhood that could soon have a freeway going through it as part of the Centennial Corridor Project. Meanwhile, the city will break ground Thursday on another part of the project further west.
Work on the final phase of the Westside Parkway begins Thursday, but the plan for the entire project is still not finalized. Phase 6-C of the parkway will construct the western end of the freeway, extending it from Allen Road to Heath Road at Stockdale Highway.
Project engineer Luis Topete said, "With the current construction, we're building the ramps on the east side of Allen Road. So, this last phase of construction will include the ramps on the west side, on and off ramps, and extend the freeway approximately two more miles."
The project will include the freeway extension, sound walls and a bridge at Renfro Road. Topete said construction on this phase is expected to take 14 to 16 months to complete.
"The rest of it, we have been in construction for a long time and we realize that. It's just that we have had some complications with the construction, nothing new. For a project of this magnitude, I mean we're building almost six miles of freeway, 3 or 4 lanes in each direction, it's a huge project for a city," said Topete.
One of the most contentious areas of the freeway is the $500 million Centennial Corridor Project. Topete said construction on this phase will begin soon. First, an environmental study must be approved and a final draft must be in place.
Topete said, "Once we get the final environmental document, we as the city, the lead agency, can apply for the federal money to go into number one, design and number two, construction."
He said final approval of the environmental study could take up to two years. A draft of the environmental study will be available to the public for comment in the next few months.
Construction on the rest of the project will move forward.