Serving the community since 1922

Cutting ribbon for city's new underpass

There was a ribbon cutting to celebrate the completion of the Poso Avenue High-Speel Rail underpass that is now open to traffic.

The Poso Avenue underpass is located between Highway 43 and J Street. It has four lanes and pedestrian access, taking traffic and pedestrians under the BNSF freight railroad and future high-speed rail tracks.

The Poso Avenue underpass is 1,084 feet long, 67 feet wide and 21 feet below grade.

The underpass is the latest structure to be opened to traffic in Kern County, and the sixth structure to be completed in the Central Valley this year.

Many people attended the festive event, including leadership from the California High-Speed Rail Authority, Mayor Vincent Martinez, councilmembers, City Manager Scott Hurlbert and community members.

"It's long overdue," Mayor Martinez said at the event. "It's a good day for Wasco because now we have a railroad crossing, and traffic can flow freely from the west to the east side of town."

City Manager Hurlbert said that with the opening of the structure, he wants to thank everyone involved, though there were a lot of technical and legal hurdles with the project..

"The city is excited to have this important underpass open to traffic today," he said. "Poso Avenue is a vital connection between Wasco's industrial area and Highway 43 and also provides secondary access to Highway 46."

The Central Valley regional director of the HSR Authority, Garth Fernandez, said, "Completion of the Poso Avenue underpass brings us closer to the completion of this southernmost section of construction in the Central Valley and delivering electrified passenger service for the people of California,"

Public Works Director Luis Villa shared, "We're proud of what's been accomplished. It was not only a public works effort, but it involved every department in the city."

Councilmember Gilberto Reyna said, "The completion of the Poso Ave four-lane underpass is a testament to our city staff's ability to successfully negotiate and collaborate with the HSR representatives to build a modern structure to connect the community with the industrial zone. It will serve Wasco for many decades. Congratulations to all."

Since the start of the HSR construction, more than 11,000 construction jobs have been created, a majority going to residents from the Central Valley. This includes more than 2,116 jobs for residents living in Kern County.

The HSR Authority has begun work to extend the 119 miles under construction to 171 miles of future electrified high-speed rail from Merced to Bakersfield.

There are more than 30 active construction sites in the Valley for the rail project, expected to eventually extend 422 miles from the Bay Area to the Los Angeles Basin.

 

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