By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
With all the road projects under way in Bakersfield, "It's been kind of a great time to be in public works."
That's the word from the City of Bakersfield's director of public works, Raul Rojas, who updated listeners and viewers on several initiatives Monday on "First Look with Scott Cox."
Most freeway projects take 20 to 30 years from start to finish, Rojas said.
"It's quite an undertaking to build a freeway of that magnitude," he said of the Westside Parkway, which opens to the public Aug. 2.
He noted that people have asked about landscaping for the parkway. Rojas said the city's tried to get extra money from the state for that, but has been unsuccessful.
Caltrans has new standards for landscaping -- more of a hardscape look -- and the city's plans probably would no longer fit.
And there's the funding issue -- the city continues to apply for every grant possible for landscaping.
"They're funding source for maintenance has been cut so severely," Rojas said.
The public works director also provided a briefing on other projects:
Rosedale Highway : The highway was under the control of Caltrans, Rojas said, but has been relinquished to the city and county. Widening there will take 12 to 18 months, Rojas said, and as much work as can be done at night will be.
"You'll see incremental progress as the project moves forward," Rojas said.
The plan is to widen the highway from four to six lanes.
Highway 99 : The southbound stretch will be widened to four lanes all the way to Taft Highway. Northbound, it will be widened to Seventh Standard Road.
"Bakersfield will have the widest part of 99," Rojas said
Highway 58 : The highway will be widened, too.
"Yes, we do have to prioritize projects," Rojas said.