Work crews took two important steps Tuesday in the construction of the Centennial Corridor, a stretch of freeway that will connect the southern leg of Highway 58 to the Westside Parkway.

They completed demolition — or nearly so — of one of the last remaining commercial structures standing in the way of new freeway, the Citizens Business Bank branch on California Avenue, just north of Mohawk Street, and they erected concrete pillars that will support the river bridges that will span the Kern River, linking the freeway to the Westside Parkway.

Nearly all the homes and businesses that once stood in the freeway’s path have been demolished, leaving a tidy path of destruction through the Westpark neighborhood between California Avenue and Stockdale Highway.

When the work is done, as soon as 2021, Bakersfield will have its first freeway linking the city’s east side to its west.

The City of Bakersfield is still working to finish the acquisition and demolition of all the private properties that will need to be removed to site the freeway. The city is in the midst of finalizing agreements with the remaining commercial properties.

For months heavy earthmovers have been building up hills of fill dirt that will become the so-called river bridges. One bridge will be an off-ramp that runs to the east of the current Truxtun Avenue bridges from the Centennial Corridor and links to northbound Mohawk Street. The other bridges will land between the two Truxtun Avenue bridges and make the eastbound and westbound connections between Highway 58 traffic and the Westside Parkway.

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