Expect slow going and delays into next month

It's going to be slow going for people travelling on Highway 119 for the next month.

Construction started last week and is expected to continue in May on the second phase of a construction project that first started last fall and continued into December before it was halted.

Once agains motorists can expect delays of up to 15 minutes on week days between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. on the highway in the Valley Acres and Dustin Acres areas, Caltrans said.

Traffic will be down to one lane while Griffith Construction crews work on the lane and shoulder widening project that will include a paving overlay and new striping.

Work was supposed to have started last August and be completed over the winter, but the project was delayed at the start then halted in mid-December because of problems relocating utility poles along the two-lane highway.

Before work was supposed to begin last August, below- and above-ground utilities were supposed to be moved.

The West Kern Water District went to work immediately rerouting water lines on the north side of the roadway.

But work by other entities didn't get done, forcing Caltrans to curtail work until after the rainy season. The new completion date is next sometime in May.

Caltrans' District 6 public information officer Jose Camarena also cited "various factors, from a lack of reliable materials resources to weather to conflicting subcontractor schedules" as other reasons for the lack of progress.

The project calls for lane and shoulder widening plus some grinding, overlay and striping on a nearly four-mile stretch of Highway 119 through Valley Acres and Dustin Acres.

Caltrans is still urging motorists to use caution when traversing the construction zone.