Q: What is the latest on plans for the Centennial Corridor connection from Highway 58 to the under-construction Westside Parkway?
-- Californian readers
A: Caltrans is still studying several possible routes for the future connector and plans to hold a public workshop some time in the next few months to catch folks up on where things stand, said agency spokesman Jose Camarena.
In one bit of news since The Californian last reported on the project in February, Caltrans says the expected release date of the project's draft environmental impact report is summer 2011 -- a year later than previously estimated.
Earlier this year, Caltrans said the document would be circulated for public review mid-this year but that was when the agency was "dealing with an accelerated schedule" and "project traffic" has pushed back the release date, Camarena said.
The alternatives Caltrans has been studying have not changed, said Caltrans Project Manager Curt Hatton. They are, according to Caltrans' website:
* Alternative A: A new freeway west of the Highway 58/Highway 99 interchange. The alignment would go west about one mile on the south side of Stockdale Highway then turn northwesterly and span Truxtun Avenue and the Kern River. It would connect to the Westside Parkway between Mohawk Street and Coffee Road.
* Alternative B: Also a new freeway west of 58 and 99. The road would go west for roughly one-half mile on the south side of Stockdale Highway then turn northwest and span Truxtun and the Kern River and connect to the Westside Parkway at Mohawk.
* Alternative C: A connection from existing Highway 58 to the Westside Parkway by routing new lanes adjacent and parallel to existing Highway 99. The additional lanes would run parallel to and independent of 99.
* Alternative D: A new freeway in the vicinity of Union Avenue extending north from Highway 58 for about a mile then going west and parallel to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks. It would connect to the Westside Parkway at Mohawk Street.
* Alternative M involves improvements to existing roads.
* Building nothing.
Hatton said Caltrans will widely publicize the upcoming public meeting. Anyone who wants to make sure they receive notice can contact Hatton in various ways: 2015 E. Shields Ave., Suite 100, Fresno, Calif., 93726; 559-243-3451; Curt_Hatton@dot.ca.gov.
For more information on the project, go to www.dot.ca.gov/dist6.