Cracked roads, rocky shoulders, these are some of the problems over one hundred road projects in Kern County will address.
The state is set to spend $54 billion dollars over the next decade, about half of which is coming by way of a new state law, known as Senate Bill 1, SB-1. It raised the gas taxes last year and vehicle fees starting in January to generate $5 billion dollars a year for transportation projects and programs.
Here in Kern County some of the bigger projects include spending $44 million dollars on Highway 184 improving nearly 30 miles of roads, shoulders and sidewalks. A $27 million dollar repaving project on Highway 58. A $25 million dollar repaving project on I-5 in northern Kern County. And two bridge related projects just north of the Grapevine on I-5 costing about $7 and a half million dollars each.
Money from the gas tax will also help the City of Bakersfield fund their road projects. Ten new projects are expected start this year. And Public Works Director, Nick Fidler, said the projects would have been delayed several years if it wasn't for SB-1.
"With the SB1 funding we're able to advance these projects. Get them resurfaced or reconstructed before they get to a point where it requires a full reconstruction of the project," said Fidler.
CalTrans said they need about 13,000 people to complete their projects across the state, so they're looking for workers. Next week CalTrans will host a job fair to fill a range of openings here in Kern County.
CalTrans maintenance supervisor, Frank Ornelaz, said, "Oilfield workers, 8th grade education. We're looking for if you have your Class-A that's definitely a plus, we're looking for commercial drivers. But anybody is welcome, we welcome the public."