City approves first steps to construct path from Second Street to Highway 33

The next phase of Taft's popular Rails to Trails walking and jogging path is going to get underway.

Phase IV will extend the path eastward by more than half a mile to Highway 33 from its current terminus at Second Street.

No construction or completion date has been announced, however KernCOG is working on a “very aggressive timeline” to obtain the authorization to start the engineering and construction.

However, the city received a $680,985 allotment from Kern COG for project, which will include 2,900 feet of mixed -use asphalt.

The city, however, is going to have to come up with $45,000 of its own money to start the environmental studies before construction will begin.

This section of the trail is going to be a bit more complicated that the others. It is going to have to include a bridge over a steep drainage ditch that used to be spanned by a wood trestle that has nearly all rotted away.

According to a city staff report, the channel will need to be improved and a prefabricated bridge will be installed over the intermittent drainage, which is a contributing channel to Sandy Creek.

Rails to Trails is a federally-funded program to take abandoned railroad right of ways in populated areas and turn them into greenbelts for walking, and jogging.

Taft's Rails to Trails covers the old Sunset Railroad corridor through the city.

It currently stretches from a point several hundred yards west of Hillard Street to Second Street.