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Hwy 58 truck climbing lanes to be a reality

On Monday morning, Oct. 23, in the presence cameras and reporters from all the Bakersfield television stations, representatives from the State of California, Kern County, the City of Tehachapi and the Kern Council of Governments met for a press conference at the Broome Road exit of Highway 58 to make a long-awaited announcement.

Tehachapi Councilman Phil Smith announced that Cal Trans has committed $257 million to construct truck climbing lanes along eastbound side Highway 58 from Caliente to an area near Keene. The project would also include repaving of the westbound lanes, as well. Smith, who has been a member of the Tehachapi City Council since 1986 and a member of KernCOG since 1995, has been a tireless advocate for the truck climbing lanes for most of his years with the organization. Smith said it was State Senator Shannon Grove who pushed the project over the finish line by going directly to the head of CalTrans.

KernCOG President, Ahron Hakimi, and Jay Schlosser, Development Services Director for the City of Tehachapi, also spoke emphasizing that the project would include $3.5 million for the environment including a planned wildlife crossing. The project must go through a design and planning stage, including figuring out how traffic will be managed during construction. Actual highway work is estimated to begin about 2025.

Others dignitaries attending the announcement were Tehachapi City Manager Greg Garrett, Mayor Michael Davies, City Council members Joan Pogan-Cord, Susan Wiggins and Jeanette Pauer; Marisol Goni from the office of Vince Fong; Kern County Chief Economic Development Officer Jim Damien and Chief Operations Officer Stacey Kuwahara; Laura Lynne Wyatt representing County Supervisor Zack Scrivner.