The California Transportation Commission will provide about $28 million to fund widening Highway 46 between Interstate 5 and Lost Hills.

This east-west highway in western Kern County connects the Central Valley to the coast and is currently two lanes from I-5 to Brown Material Road.

The CTC allocation lets the California Department of Transportation complete the first phase of widening Highway 46 in the area: increasing it to four lanes from the I-5 interchange to one mile east of Lost Hills Road. 

The project is estimated to cost $27.5 million.

"This is a big benefit and win for local residents and commuters in our community," Assemblyman Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield, said in a statement.

Fong added that widening Highway 46 in his district would provide safety for commuters and efficiency when transporting goods.

Kern Council of Governments Executive Director Ahron Hakimi said widening the highway is of statewide importance as the east-west connector is used by Central Valley and Southern California residents to get the coast.

Construction is expected to begin in November and the target date for completion is 2020. The $28 million will come from leftover Traffic Congestion Relief Program funds.

Meanwhile, the second phase would continue the four lanes until Brown Material Road, but it has no timeline or cost estimates yet.

Dorothy Mills-Gregg can be reached at (661) 395-7368. Follow her on Twitter via @TBCCityBeat.

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