The City of Bakersfield is getting $94 million from the state to help pay for the Centennial Corridor project.
The California Transportation Commission voted last week to allocate $31 million in State Highway Operation and Protection Program funds for the Belle Terrace project, part of preparatory work for the Centennial Corridor, and $63 million in State Transportation Improvement Program funds for construction of the corridor.
“We’re very pleased to have gotten [the allocations],” City Manager Alan Tandy said. “Ninety-four million is a lot of money, and I’m really glad we were able to secure it.”
The now fully-funded Belle Terrace project involves the replacement of a bridge on Belle Terrace that spans across Highway 99.
The bridge has to be rebuilt as auxiliary lanes are being added to northbound and southbound Highway 99 from Ming Avenue to Highway 58 and a longer bridge is needed.
The city estimates that construction on the project will begin this summer and take about two years to complete. For most of that time, the Belle Terrace bridge will be unavailable.
The Centennial Corridor project will connect Highway 58 to the Westside Parkway to create a seamless flow through Bakersfield for those heading east and west. The design of the project is nearly complete and the city has acquired all of the land needed.
The city said it is also pursuing three grants — two state and one federal — from the commission to help pay for construction projects.
The state grants are $17 million and $25 million and the federal one is $60 million. Tandy said a $17 million grant would go toward the 24th Street widening project. The other state grant would go toward some of the Centennial Corridor side projects.
“We’re pretty optimistic about the $25 million one,” Tandy said. “The $17 million one has a lot of applicants. It may be a long shot but it’s not impossible that we can receive it.”
The federal grant would go toward construction of the corridor, Tandy said. He said it’s difficult to predict whether the city has a good chance of getting that one.
The city expects to hear decisions on all of the grants by June.
With the two announced allocations, Tandy said the city only needs $62 million more to fully fund its current construction projects, most of which are related to the Centennial Corridor. Other projects the city is undergoing that aren't connected includes the Truxtun Avenue and 24th street widening projects.
If the city gets some or all of the grants, that would further reduce the borrowing amount needed, Tandy said.
The Kern Council of Governments, California Department of Transportation, Public Works staff and others have assisted the city in obtaining the grants.