The Federal Highway Aid Act of 1968 was signed into law on August 24 of said year. The Act added an additional 1,500 miles to the Federal Highway Trust fund for Chargeable Interstate mileage. The Division of Highways applied for California State Route 58 between Interstate 5 east to Interstate 15 in Barstow to be assigned Chargeable Interstate mileage. The corridor was ultimately rejected for a second time by the Federal Highway Administration. To date, this is the last attempted act by any agency to add the corridor to the Interstate system.
During 1973 the Kern Council of Governments (Kern COG) identified a need for a "Westside Freeway" to replace Rosedale Highway as the alignment of California State Route 58 in their 1990 Transportation Plan & Program. The California State Route 99 (former US Route 99) and California State Route 58 interchange in Bakersfield was completed in 1976. California State Route 58 was relocated east of California State Route 99 onto a new freeway grade (Rosa Parks Highway). North from the new interchange California State Route 58 was multiplexed on northbound California State Route 99 to Rosedale Highway. From California State Route 99 the routing of California State Route 58 continued west to Interstate 5 along Rosedale Highway.
The then new freeway alignment of California State Route 58 in eastern Bakersfield can be seen on the 1977 Caltrans Map.
The existing alignment of California State Route 58 in western Bakersfield persisted with minimal improvements despite being part of the Freeways & Expressway System. Feasibility studies on transferring California State Route 58 to the proposed Westside Freeway began in 1992 with a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration approved an EIS which had evaluated two proposed alternatives for the proposed Westside Freeway.
In 2005 now retired Congressman Bill Thomas successfully lobbied for $630 million in Federal funding for Bakersfield area road improvements via the provisions of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Funding Act (SAFETEA). The roads covered in the Bakersfield area covered under the provisions of SAFETEA are part of what is known as the Thomas Roads Improvement Program (TRIP). A current map featuring all of the TRIP projects can be seen below.
2006 Assembly Bill 1858 (Chapter 315) permitted a partial relinquishment of Rosedale Highway in the city of Bakersfield from the State Highway System. During October 2008 the California Transportation Commission received a notice of preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the conversion California State Route 58 to limited access capacity west of California State Route 99 to Interstate 5. Numerous project alternatives including a "no build" option were prepared. Ultimately the 16.61 mile long Alternative B was selected by Caltrans as agency's favored routing for the West Side Parkway.
Construction of the West Side Parkway would commence in 2009. During March 2012 the relinquishment authorization enacted in 2006 was acted on. California State Route 58 along Rosedale Highway between Mohawk Street west to Van Buren Place was subsequently relinquished to local agencies. The legislative description of California State Route 58 was amended by 2013 Senate Bill 788 (Chapter 525) to reflect the relinquished segment of Rosedale Highway.
Beginning in 2013 sections of the West Side Parkway would begin to open. On April 15, 2015, the West Side Parkway was fully opened from Stockdale Highway east to Truxtun Avenue. The West Side Parkway when initially opened was owned and maintained by the city of Bakersfield. On December 4, 2015, Caltrans approved the city of Bakersfield's final EIR for the proposed Centennial Corridor. The Centennial Corridor would provide the final connection of the West Side Parkway from Truxton Avenue east to the California State Route 99/California State Route 58. The approval of the EIR led to a formal freeway adoption by Caltrans for the Centennial Corridor.
During 2016 Caltrans began feasibility studies regarding the transfer of the West Side Parkway into the State Highway System. Caltrans found that the West Side Parkway was in need of remediation to be converted to State Highway standards. The remediations of the West Side Parkway took place during 2017-2020. The California Transportation Commission approved the addition of the West Side Parkway from Heath Road east to Coffee Road as the new alignment of California State Route 58 during December 2020.
Signage of California State Route 58 along Stockdale Highway and West Side Parkway subsequently was erected. An interim routing of California State Route 58 along Mohawk Street and Rosedale Highway was signed to California State Route 99. Existing California State Route 58 along Rosedale Highway and Blue Star Memorial Highway west of Van Buren Place west relinquished to Kern County.
Construction of the Centennial Corridor would commence during 2017 as a multi-phase project. Phase 1 included improvements to the Kern River Bridge and would be complete by 2020. The Belle Terrace Operational Improvements of Phase 2 were completed by Spring 2021. During March 2022 the California State Route 43/California State Route 58/Eons Lane Roundabout was completed. The Bakersfield Freeway Connector of Phase 3 was completed by summer 2023. Phase 4 included the Mainline and California State Route 99 Connector Ramps and was completed during February 2024.
The Centennial Corridor was dedicated on February 9, 2024. Following the dedication ceremony a cycling event was held on February 10, 2024. As of the publishing of this blog the Centennial Corridor does not have a formally announced opening date. The corridor is expected to be open to traffic sometime during February.
During December 2023 the California Transportation Commission approved future consideration of funding for a limited access extension conversion of California State Route 58 from Interstate 5 east to the current terminus of the West Side Parkway. The proposed "Interstate 5 Connector" can be seen below on a TRIP map of the West Side Parkway and Centennial Corridor.
Part 2; the Centennial Corridor dedication ceremony
As noted in Part 1 the dedication ceremony celebrating the completion of the Centennial Corridor was held on February 9, 2024. The general public was invited to attend the ceremony which included driving over the not yet open Centennial Corridor.
The dedication began with the National Anthem being performed by the Bakersfield High School Driller Band.