$25 million widening project on 'blood alley' finally underway

$25 million widening project on 'blood alley' finally underway »Play Video
LOST HILLS, Calif. -- A ceremony Tuesday marked the start of a long-anticipated widening project on Highway 46.

The highway, which is northwest of Bakersfield, is a primary route to the central coast. Numerous crashes along 46 have earned it the nickname "blood alley."

Many of the crashes have been head-on, and they're often blamed on impatient drivers trying to pass slower traffic on a two-lane road.

Phase I of this project will expand an 8-mile stretch of 46 east of Lost Hills to four lanes with a 62-foot-wide median. Four people, including an infant, died and another person was severely injured in a head-on crash last month on that section of the highway.

The $25 million, three-phase project is being paid for by a combination of county, state and federal funds.

Dignitaries at Tuesday's groundbreaking ceremony included state Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, D-Shafter, and Congressman Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield.

Construction on Phase I is set to begin on Nov. 16. Phase II is scheduled to begin in the summer, and Phase III is set to get underway a year from now.