The city of Bakersfield has detailed a list of road projects that the higher taxes you’ve been paying at the gas station could fund.
The city has proposed 11 projects for the 2018-19 fiscal year to be funded as part of Senate Bill 1. The City Council approved the list earlier this week and it will go up for a final vote in June as part of the approval process for next year’s budget.
Also known as the Road Repair and Accountability Act, SB 1 was approved by the state last fall to provide $54 billion over a decade for highway and road improvements by raising gas taxes and vehicle registration fees. Bakersfield is set to receive $86 million over 10 years.
“This is a great opportunity for the city,” Public Works Director Nick Fidler said. “We’re able to advance roadways that have had deferred maintenance for quite a while. SB 1 allows us to get them back to a good condition.”
For the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, the city is expected to get about $6.4 million in funding. Eight of the projects will be fully funded by SB 1. The other three are federal projects in which SB 1 funds would be used to cover the city’s required 11.47 percent local match, estimated at $870,536.
Those projects are estimated to cost a total of about $7.6 million.
These three projects are pavement rehabilitation on Wible Road from White Lane to Planz Road and District Boulevard from Gosford Road to Stine Road, as well as various bridge improvements. These projects aren’t estimated to be complete until fall 2019.
Out of the eight proposed projects that would be fully funded by SB 1, three are expected to be completed as of this fall: Road resurfacing for Jewetta Avenue from Hageman Road to south of Lonon Avenue, Pin Oak Boulevard from White Lane to Bear Creek and Clay Patrick Farr Way from Granite Falls to Hageman Road.
Another three are expected to be finished by the end of the year. These are pavement resurfacing for Park View from White Lane to Campus Park and Berkshire Road from Wible Road to Santana Sun Drive, as well as pavement rehabilitation on H Street from Brundage Lane to 4th Street.
The last two are expected to be completed in May 2019. These are pavement rehabilitation for H Street from 4th Street to Truxtun Avenue and Haley Street from Columbus Avenue to University Avenue.
“I think these projects are going to be good for Bakersfield,” Vice Mayor Bob Smith said. “Our infrastructure needs to be improved. People want to drive, and you have to maintain the roads.”
Fidler said the projects were selected because their condition is at 60 or less on the Pavement Condition Index. The index ranks the conditions of roads from 0 to 100, with 100 being brand new roadway. All of the project roads are in “poor” to “fair” condition.
The city also took into consideration the volume of traffic on the roads, Fidler said.
The citywide road condition average is currently 66, according to the city. Fidler said the goal is to reach an average of 80 or better, which would put city roadways in “good” condition.
The city had previously received $2.1 million for the current fiscal year from SB 1. That money was used to fund six new projects including improvements to Wilson Road from Highway 99 to Real Road, Allen Road from Olive Drive to Reina Road and Bernard Street from Union Avenue to Kern Street.
Fidler said that since that funding didn’t come until November, most of the projects are ongoing. He expects they will all be finished by the end of June.
While Fidler said residents may not like how much they’re paying at the gas pump, the SB 1 funding is greatly needed for Bakersfield and the rest of the state.
He said it’s especially needed as vehicles are getting double the gas mileage they used to but drivers were paying the same taxes.
“They’re doing twice the damage to the roadways but were paying the same level of fees,” he said. “There needed to be an adjustment to the fees to provide for maintenance for the facilities. SB 1 is compensating for these vehicles that are getting better gas mileage.”
In other road-related matters, Fidler gave a timeline update on the 24th Street Widening Project to the City Council this week. The project will widen the street from four to six lanes between Beech and Bay streets.
The city has been working on putting up 12-foot soundwalls on the north side of 24th Street since January. So far, the soundwalls have been completed between Beech and Spruce streets.
There will be heavy landscaping along the soundwalls, Fidler said. Trees will be planted every 35 feet as well as various shrubs and other landscaping.
Fidler said soundwall construction is estimated to be completed sometime next month.
The final design plans for the project were submitted this week, he said. Construction of the actual widening is estimated to begin this fall.