Q: What brands of ice cream are made at the Dreyer's ice cream plant in southwest Bakersfield?
-- Craig Holland
A Dreyer's spokeswoman, Diane McIntyre, provided this list:
* Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream
* Dreyer's Slow Churned Ice Cream
* Dreyer's Slow Churned Yogurt
* Dreyer's Sherbet
* Nestle Drumsticks Cones
* Skinny Cow Bars, Cones, cups
* Dreyer's Smoothie Bars
* Dreyer's Fruit Bars
* Dreyer's Orange and Cream Bars
* Nestle Tollhouse Cookie Sandwich
* Dreyer's/Edy's 3 gallon (for restaurants and parlors)
* Carnation Sandwiches
* Dreyer's Dibs
Q: Why is the new freeway (Westside Parkway) not open, at least to where it ends as far as pavement goes?
I think if I were building that new freeway, I would have started it where it is supposed to end, in town, and as it was built, a complete new section at a time, to where the off- and on-ramps are located, I would have opened each new section as it went along so that traffic cannot only get used to using it, but it would also lighten up some of the traffic going into and out of town.
Every day it sits empty, it costs the taxpayers tons of money in wasted time and fuel costs.
I would have thought that was the main reason for building that new section of connector freeway in the first place, to speed up and ease the flow of traffic and save some of us expensive fuel costs.
-- A commenter on The Californian's Facebook page
A: Janet Wheeler, spokeswoman for the Thomas Roads Improvement Program answered:
The Westside Parkway is a new 8.1-mile freeway facility that will extend from Truxtun Avenue near Highway 99 to Stockdale Highway and Heath Road.
The project consists of six phases. The first phase consisted of the Mohawk Street Extension, on which construction began in spring 2009 and was completed and opened to traffic in June 2011. The remaining five phases are for the east-west freeway portion of the project.
The state provided $133 million in 2008, and then another $24 million in 2010, to construct the initial phases of the project. With the economic downturn and resulting lower construction bids received at that time, the city was able to build the next four phases of the project and extend the freeway all the way to Allen Road, years earlier than originally expected.
The state recently approved $26 million for the final phase of the project, from Allen Road west to Stockdale Highway near Heath Road, and this phase will be under construction next spring.
All phases currently under construction are being built by the same contractor, who schedules his subcontractors, crews and equipment across all the phases of the project. This maximizes his efficiency, which results in lowering his bid costs so that less taxpayer funds are needed to construct the project. So completing these phases as a whole ultimately saves time and costs for the city, which has allowed more of the project to be built, as well as creates a more effective and efficient system for traffic circulation as compared to opening the project in separate small segments.
Although concrete has been placed for the freeway lanes between Coffee Road and Allen Road, the public is advised that there is still much work to be completed such as drainage systems, street lighting, traffic signals, signage, striping, as well as the paving of the on- and off-ramps at the interchanges. Until these items have been completed, the project is not safe to open to traffic.
The public as well as city staff are eager to have the Westside Parkway open and operating; we will all be able to drive on it next year.
Q: How do I purchase one of the 2013 calendars online?
-- Dona Chertok
A: Dona is referring to The Californian's Capture Kern County 2013 calendar, which features photos that Kern County photographers submitted for inclusion and local residents voted as the best.
You can buy the calendars online at buy.capturekerncounty.com. They are $14.99.
Ask The Californian appears on Mondays. Submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or to The Bakersfield Californian, c/o Christine Bedell, P.O. Bin 440, Bakersfield, CA 93302.