Businesses fall for road construction

Businesses fall for road construction
A busy Bakersfield intersection is being cleared to make way for the city's planned Westside Parkway.

It's construction that will eventually mean a better drive across town, according to city leaders, but it means several businesses have been forced out at Brimhall and Coffee roads in northwest Bakersfield.

All that was left Tuesday was a pile of debris left of the Coffee/Coffee kiosk. Four businesses had leased spots at the intersection, but the city wanted the land back to get ready for building the parkway.

City Manager Alan Tandy said this part of the parkway will be built in two phases.

The first section is at Mohawk and Truxtun. That part will cross the Kern River bed and will connect the road going east and west.

The second phase is the interchange at Brimhall and Coffee.

"It should help Coffee, Truxtun, Rosedale (and) Brimhall," said Tandy, ticking off some often-congested roads. "The Mohawk piece by itself will be a big asset to give some relief to the congestion to get from the northwest into downtown."

Tandy said the Mohawk section will cost $60 million, and bids will be opened in December with construction starting a couple months later.

Both sections together have a price tag of $133 million, and will be paid for by state traffic improvement funds that have been set aside for a long period of time, according to Tandy.

The city manager said during these funds were somewhat n doubt during this year's long state budget stalemate.

"There was a proposal floating around that would have borrowed this money, not just ours, but the pool of money this comes from at this level," Tandy said. "So we were very concerned that would happen. In the end, it did not, and so now we have it and are free to move, and are going forward with it."

The Coffee/Coffee kiosk was not the only business forced out. Kern Building Materials, The Brick Yard and a garden nursery and granite slab company had to move.

Bakersfield property management spokesman Don Anderson said Coffee/Coffee had been in its location since October 2004. Its lease ended in September, and it also had to demolish its small building to return the land to the city.

Calls to Coffee/Coffee owners went unanswered.

Tandy said bids will be accepted for the Brimhall/Coffee section beginning in March. He said construction should start a couple months after that, and work on those sections should take about two years.

Tandy said the project won't solve all the traffic congestion problems in the city, but it should be of significant benefit.

"It's extremely important because we don't have through east-west freeway movement in the Bakersfield metropolitan area," he said. "While this does not accomplish all of that, this will be constructed in phases and vital phases to get that done."