“The new funding is critical to help keep heavy-duty vehicles off our neighborhood streets, providing smoother traffic flows and thereby reducing emissions, including in many of our historically disadvantaged communities,” said Ahron Hakimi, executive director of KernCOG. Once the connector is open, the agency said, two more Highway 99 and 58 interchange ramps will be completed over the next several years — the 58 westbound to northbound and the 99 southbound to westbound movements.
According to Caltrans, the estimated construction cost for the Centennial Corridor Southbound Highway 99 and westbound Highway 58 Connector project is more than $29 million. It is expected to be complete by summer 2028. The funding to complete the final ramp for the 99-to-58 freeway-to-freeway interchange comes from the Trade Corridor Enhancement Program. The program is funded by state and federal fuel taxes, including the Senate Bill 1 Transportation Improvement Fee.
Closer to Tehachapi, as reported by officials from the city of Tehachapi, Caltrans is moving forward with the $165 million Keene Pavement Project and a $65.9 million truck climbing lane project. The Keene Pavement Project will remove four curves, replace disintegrating pavement and make other improvements on a 10- to 12-mile stretch of Highway 58 just west of Tehachapi. That section of the highway has been the scene of numerous accidents in recent years, including big rig crashes that resulted in closures lasting many hours. According to the Caltrans District 9 quarterly report, the project will begin in March 2026 and is expected to be completed by November 2026. District 9 also oversees another long-awaited project — a truck climbing lane on eastbound 58 between Bakersfield and Tehachapi.