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Sometimes Highway 58 needs to close, due to accidents in the two lanes.

The city of Tehachapi is sponsoring the filing of a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program Funding grant application that may lead to adding one truck climbing lane on three sections of eastbound Highway 58 between Bakersfield and Tehachapi.

“We believe the truck climbing lanes are so significant for the residents of Tehachapi, that this is a worthy item for us,” said Jay Schlosser, city development services director.

He added, “We have been very careful to word this resolution such that the city is not committing to anything financially. We don’t believe this is our project to fund, match or otherwise. Instead, the expectation is that we simply want to get the application in.”

The city is sponsoring and submitting the environmental application to determine which of five alternatives will most help reduce traffic.

The estimated total for entire project is some $5.75 million. If the project is approved in the future, the city of Tehachapi would receive $659,754 in grant funds, which would be passed on to Caltrans or Kern Council of Governments, according to the Aug. 5 City Council agenda documents.

In order for the grant application to be considered, an agency within KCOG must sponsor the application.

“This is not a city of Tehachapi project, but there has to be a lead agency to get this thing going. This has been on the burner for 20 years,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Phil Smith, who is also on the KCOG board of directors.

Caltrans is in the process of completing an initial study of the Highway 58 truck climbing lanes, and it is set to be completed this year.