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Felix Adamo / The Californian

Concrete is dumped in front of a concrete paving machine just west of the Calloway bridge as paving has begun on the Westside Parkway construction project.

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Felix Adamo / The Californian

Paving has begun on the Westside Parkway construction project with the first slab being poured from Coffee Road to Calloway. Looking west, the Calloway bridge is seen in the foreground and with Jewetta overpass at left center.

Q: With the opening of the early phases of the Westside Parkway this year, I am curious about the proposed landscaping plan.

I contacted the Thomas Road Improvement Program staff and received a prompt reply that caused me some chagrin. Melissa Rossiter advised, after reviewing my inquiry with the engineers, that they really hadn't had a chance to consider the landscaping because there was so much work remaining but "it would probably be some sort of hardscape."

What about the lovely addition to the community promised in the renderings and video showing lush landscaping filled with trees used as the marketing tool to gain community approval? Can you please update us on the landscaping plan and timeline?

-- Steve McCalley

A: Ted Wright, city of Bakersfield Program Manager for TRIP, responds: The design of the Westside Parkway project incorporated aesthetic treatments that were upgraded beyond state standards, such as colored concrete, stone texturing, decorative fencing and ornamental lighting fixtures on the bridge structures, and the use of colored split-face block for soundwall construction.

Landscaping for the corridor is estimated to cost between $15 million and $20 million; however, there is currently no funding identified to pay for this element of the project.

Therefore, in conjunction with the roadway project, wood bark is being placed in future landscape areas to provide for weed, dust and erosion control.

Ask The Californian appears on Mondays. Submit questions to asktbc@bakersfield.com or to The Bakersfield Californian, c/o Christine Bedell, P.O. Bin 440, Bakers field, CA 93302.