BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A new multi-million project is aiming to improve your drive time by 2020.
The Belle Terrace bridge in southwest Bakersfield does not currently meet Caltrans vertical clearance standards but after today's ceremony, the first step in tearing it down and building a new taller and wider bridge is currently underway.
The project is intended to accommodate connections and the growing capacity of people traveling to and from Bakersfield, "So on both sides north and south bound on 99 we'll be adding lanes," Bakersfield Public Works Director Nick Fiddler said.
The Belle Terrace bridge reconstruction project is also part of a larger scale project known as the Centennial Corridor, "It's really focused on the Belle Terrace bridge but its a critical part of combining what we do to get 58 onto the Centennial Corridor and over to the Westside Parkway," founder of the Thomas Roads Improvement Program Bill Thomas said.
The Centennial Corridor is an alternate bridge currently being built that will connect to highway 58 that currently leads to a dead end at Real Road, a project that isn’t cheap, "This is evidence of the coordination locally, county, state wide and even nationally in supplying us with $50,000,000 for a freight corridor which the Centennial Corridor will be," Thomas said.
Both phases of the Centennial Corridor are scheduled to be complete by the spring of 2020. However, today's ceremony is also a celebration of the end of another congested roadway, commonly used by people in Kern County. "Tomorrow all of that highway congestion at 99 and Oak with Truxtun will be finished. They'll mark the lines and that traffic will be open now with three lanes where there were two," Thomas said.
Even though the Truxtun Avenue portion is nearly complete Granite Construction workers still have some holes to fill and lanes to paint before the road is entirely operational again. As of now the Truxtun completion is still four months ahead of schedule. The Centennial Corridor and Belle Terrace project will likely cause slow downs on north and south bound 99.