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Felix Adamo / The Californian

Cleanup work is still under way after the opening of the Westside Parkway. Here, work is being done near the Kern River bed east of Mohawk Street, north of Truxtun Extension and south of the parkway.

Q: With the opening of the Westside Parkway, I took the opportunity to ride my horse along the horse trail on the north side of the Kern River, which has been closed west of the Amtrak tracks for a couple of years due to the construction of the parkway bridge crossing the river. I know that everyone has written about their enthusiasm for the new parkway but I noticed that the quiet of this area has been punctuated by the sound of vehicles on the new roadway. I guess this is progress.

My question is what are the plans for restoration of the riparian habitat and trail along the river that has been disturbed by construction of the parkway and Mohawk Street overcrossings? There is still much construction equipment and debris between the two bridges and it is somewhat of an obstacle course to ride through. I sure hope the area will be restored and look forward to being able to enjoy the horse trail along this part of the river.

-- Marci S. Cunningham

A: Ted Wright, program manager for the Thomas Roads Improvement Program, answered:

While the Westside Parkway freeway lanes between Truxtun Avenue and Allen Road have opened to traffic, the contractor will continue working on items off the roadway for several more weeks.

One of the items being worked on is the restoration of the Kern River area, and completion of final grading and clean-up work in the area that includes the equestrian trail along the north levee. The contractor will also be completing final work on the bike path realignment on the south side of the river. As soon as this work is completed, all equipment and materials will be removed from the area. We estimate this work to be done in several weeks.

Restoration of vegetation is part of a plan currently being prepared for the area along the river between Mohawk Street and Truxtun Avenue. This plan includes installation of irrigation systems and replacement of plantings, and the plan must be approved by various state and federal agencies (Army Corps of Engineers, Central Valley Flood Protection Board, Department of Fish and Wildlife, etc.) Implementation of this plan will begin once all agencies have approved it. It is anticipated that this restoration work will occur next spring/summer and be completed by fall 2014.

Q: When Caltrans has a sign that states so many miles to a given city, how does it measure that? Is it to the center of the city, or just the city limits?

A good example is on northbound Highway 99 between Hosking Avenue and McKee Road. A sign there states "Bakersfield 8 miles, Fresno 116 miles, Sacramento 286 miles." This sign has always seemed a little odd as when you pass the sign you are already well inside Bakersfield. Furthermore, eight miles north of that point would be somewhere near Westchester.

A: The distances to cities are measured to either the location of a City Hall and/or the most highly concentrated areas like a business center or a downtown location, according to Caltrans spokesman Jose Camarena. But some signs may be outdated, he said, due to commercial growth or development of metropolitan areas that's not followed up with a new measurement by Caltrans.

Ask TBC appears on Mondays. Submit questions to or to The Bakersfield Californian, c/o Christine Bedell, P.O. Bin 440, Bakersfield, CA 93302.