FM 803 project should result in a safer road

BROWNSVILLE — A project that will greatly enhance the safety of FM 803 from SH 100 to I-69E is six months ahead of schedule and should be complete this December, according to Cameron County Administrator David Garcia.

The $10.3 million project, which got underway in February 2015, entails realigning FM 803, or Olmito North Road, from just south of the Los Fresnos United ninth-grade campus to the I-69E northbound frontage road at Rancho Viejo Avenue.

The new stretch, along with the portion of FM 803 from the school to SH 100, will feature four travel lanes 12 feet in width, with eight-foot shoulders and a center turn lane. FM 803 is presently a narrow two-lane road with two-foot shoulders, and it’s been the scene of several accidents over the years.

“The primary reason for the project is safety,” Garcia said. “The amount of traffic for people coming from the Los Fresnos area or Brownsville and vice versa, it’s just grown exponentially.”

Widening FM 803 along its current route from SH 100 to SH 550/I-169 wasn’t really an option, he said.

“It was houses on one side and the canal on the other side,” Garcia said. “The only way was to take it from Rancho Viejo to (SH) 100.”

Doing so will allow traffic to flow much more easily, he said, adding that the old stretch of FM 803 will remain open, probably under county maintenance.

The project is the result of a partnership between Cameron County and the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority, which saw it through the environmental assessment, project planning and right-of-way acquisition phases before handing it off to the Texas Department of Transportation for construction, Garcia said.

“TxDOT took over for the construction part of it because they were the ones that were providing the funding,” he said.

Eighty percent of the funding is coming from the federal government and the remainder from the state, according to TxDOT.