Couch says new shoulders have been needed for a long time
It has been a long time coming.
But finally, it looks like the time is here.
Midway road is going to get shoulders.
Kern County supervisors, at their meeting Tuesday, approved submitting an application for streambed alteration with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for improvements on the roughly five-mile stretch of Midway Road.
The action means the board found that the project to improve the road between Highways 119 and 33 is exempt from further environmental review.
"This has been an ongoing project for many years," said 4th District Supervisor David Couch. "I'm happy our office and the (Kern County) Roads Department were able to see it through to the environmental stage."
The road is heavily used by oilfield traffic travelling from the Bakersfield area to the western Midway Sunset oilfield, the Sunrise Cogeneration plant near Derby Acres and by are residents driving from Fellows and Derby Acres to Bakersfield.
Roads Department Director Craig M. Pope told supervisors in a letter that: "This department proposes to construct six-foot shoulders on Midway Road from State Route 119 to State Route 33. … (The work) includes extension of (three) existing culverts to support the proposed construction."
The project requires an application to state Fish and Wildlife for a Streambed Alteration Agreement to allow for the culvert work, Pope told the board.
"A study prepared by SWCA Environmental Consultants found that the three culverts to be extended are within the jurisdiction of Fish and Wildlife," he said. "As a result, a Streambed Alteration Agreement is required to protect special status species by outlining provisions to minimize streambed degradation, erosion and impacts to fish, wildlife and habitat.
"The agreement will remain in effect for five years and requires the county to be responsible for the work."
The County Roads Department will pay the Streambed Alteration Agreement application fee of $3,353.50 for the project, Pope said. Estimated cost of the work on the three culverts is $276,000 and the project will take 80 work days between July and November of 2014, according to department information.
"The shoulder widening of Midway Road … will be a great benefit to the residents of Taft, as well as the entire Westside," Couch said. "I'm hopeful that the widening will provide greater public safety.
"This project is a prime example of government working together for the benefit of its constituents."
No environmental documents were required for consideration of the project by the board, Pope said.
"The requested action is categorically exempt under sections … of the California Environmental Quality Act," he said. "The requested action is exempt from the requirements of CEQA and the state CEQA Guidelines concerning the evaluation of projects, further environmental review and the preparation and review of environmental documents."
In the application to state Fish and Wildlife, the county noted that:
•Protocol level surveys were conducted on 17 days in the spring and summer of 2012 by qualified biologists, including two reference surveys.
•No listed special status animals or plants were found; however Nelson's Antelope squirrels were observed on adjacent properties.
•No fish will be impacted since there is no water present.
• Numerous avoidance and minimization measures are proposed, including pre-construction surveys, flagging of sensitive areas, employee training, restoration of temporarily disturbed areas, on-site monitoring, ramps for specie escape and implementation of standard kit fox measures.
•The three culverts would only carry flowing water after heavy rains, so it shouldn't be necessary to divert water during the construction period.
• Construction equipment may include, but is not limited to, road-graders, earthmovers, backhoes, dump trucks, transfer trucks, steel and rubber-tired rollers, paving machines, and compactors.
• No mitigation or compensation is proposed.