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Demolition underway for 24th Street widening project

A home crumbled to the ground as an excavator plowed through the structure Tuesday along 24th Street.

Neighbors, such as Vanessa Vangel, said watching the home reduced to rubble brings her distress. She is apart of a group that has legally opposed the city's 24th Street widening project. The group has since brought the case to appeals court in Fresno, which is expected to make a decision in several months.

"What's very unfortunate is that within that time frame that the homes we tried to save will be demolished," Vangel said. "The trees we tried to save will be demolished. Millions of dollars of taxpayer money will be spent unnecessarily. This project is a waste. This project is unnecessary."

The city has not yet said what it will do with the project in the event it loses the case in the appeals court, but officials said the expansion is long overdue.

"We've had this road through this neighborhood for 50 years," said Kristina Budak, Bakersfield city engineer. "People have been talking about trying to improve this area for years, and I think that over time ... our traveling public continues to use this road."

Budak also said traffic has heavily increased on the street and widening is the only viable option.

"Times are changing, and the facility needs to be improved to facilitate the change," Budak said.

All home demolition is expected to be completed between April and May.


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