Q: When do they expect to start hiring at the new WinCo?

-- Amy Ruiz

A:First off, that WinCo -- at Panama Lane and Ashe Road in southwest Bakersfield -- is expected to open in late February or the first half of March, said company spokesman Michael Read.

The second WinCo in Bakersfield is to be about 90,000-square-feet in size and a little different from the WinCo on Coffee Road in that it will feature the company's new color palette of black, red and silver (rather than teal and orange) and a more convenient layout, Read said.

As for employment, Read said the store will come with "200 new job opportunities with a competitive wage and good medical benefits," plus a pension.

The vast majority of those job opportunities, he said, will be full-time. People can qualify for very competitive medical benefits and company pension contributions, Read said.

WinCo tends to start hiring three months before a store opens, Read said. He suggested people who are interested should check the company's website for more information, probably around the holidays.

WinCo's Web address is www.wincofoods.com.

Q: Are there any plans to extend the four-lane Merle Haggard Drive from Airport Drive to the airport? And are there plans to put traffic control signals at Airport and Merle Haggard? That intersection is a mess!

-- Richard Beamer

A: Kern County Roads Director Craig Pope answered:

Merle Haggard at Airport is in design as we speak. We secured funding for it and it should go to construction in the summer.

We, too, would like to widen Merle Haggard to four lanes in that area. We have started looking at it but there are some real challenges because of underground utilities. I would guess we are still a couple of years away on that segment.

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