Centennial Corridor EIR, EIS available for public viewing

Centennial Corridor EIR, EIS available for public viewing »Play Video
This file image from 2012 shows three alternative routes for the planned Centennial Corridor Project.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Key documents are now available for public viewing as the Centennial Corridor highway project takes its next step.

Caltrans has released the draft environmental impact report and environmental impact statement, which can be viewed online, and has set a public hearing for next month.

The Centennial Corridor is designed to connect Highway 58 at Real Road with the Westside Parkway. The endgame is to connect Hwy. 58 on the east with Interstate 5 on the west, giving motorists a faster way to cross through the city.

But, to do so, the path of the Centennial Corridor would take out numerous homes in the Westpark neighborhood.

For years, neighbors opposed to the project have done battle with the government to keep the corridor from going through their neighborhood or being forced to eventually sell their homes.

Earlier this year, the city secured $165 million from the federal government to start early acquisition of properties that stand in the path of the preferred path of the Centennial Corridor.

Officials plan to go with "Alternative B," among possible Centennial Corridor routes. That would take an extension of Highway 58 west from Highway 99 for about one-half mile along the south side of Stockdale Highway before turning northwest and connecting to the Westside Parkway just east of Mohawk Street.

Friday's release of the Centennial Corridor draft EIR/EIS marks the beginning of a 60-day public review and comment period.

The public hearing is set for 4-7 p.m. June 11 at the Kern County Administrative Center, Building Rotunda, 1115 Truxtun Ave. It will be an informal hearing held in an open-house format, according to Caltrans.

While available to view online now, the public hearing will also have the EIR/EIS, technical studies, maps and exhibits. Project engineers and other officials will be there to answer questions, and the public can submit comments.

Comments can also be accepted until July 8 by writing Jennifer H. Taylor, Caltrans, 855 M St., Ste. 200, Fresno, CA, 93721, or by sending an email to centennial@dot.ca.gov.