Getting in your roadwork

HARLINGEN — The last rain in Harlingen, at least the official number recorded at Valley International Airport, occurred on June 20 when .07 inches briefly dampened the day.

Since then, it’s been drier than a dinosaur bone in a desert.

As problematic as this may be for yards and gardens, no rain for 52 days is a real plus when you happen to build roads for a living.

“When it does not rain, it is always a positive for road construction,” Octavio Saenz, spokesperson for TxDOT in the Rio Grande Valley, said yesterday.

TxDOT currently has eight projects in play within the Harlingen-San Benito Metropolitan Planning Organization’s zone of 355 square miles in western Cameron County.

One of the biggest is the U.S. 281 rehabilitation and widening project that starts at Rangerville Road and swings west for 3.9 miles to near FM 506.

The $7.8 million project, which commenced in June of last year, is expected to be finished in February 2017.

“This project is needed to provide greater mobility for the increasing traffic volumes on the U.S. 281 corridor,” Saenz said. “As of now, mobility is decreased because of through traffic having to stop and wait behind turning traffic at major intersections.

“Potential safety concerns are also present due to increased traffic on the existing two-lane roadway,” he added.

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Roadwork status

U.S. 281 rehab and widening

Where — FM 1479 to FM 506

Cost — $7.7 million

Project length — 3.863 miles

Work started — June 2015

Completion date — February 2017

Analysis — The project to rehabilitate and widen the existing road is 56 percent complete

FM 106 roadway reconstruction

Where — FM 1847 to FM 510

Cost — $15.6 million

Project length — 11.4 miles

Work started — November 2015

Completion date — January 2018

Analysis — The project to completely reconstruct the existing roadway is 26 percent complete

South Parallel Corridor new construction

Where — From near FM 1479 to near FM 509

Cost — $3.8 million

Project length — 2.11 miles

Work started — May 2015

Completion date — August 2016

Analysis — The road is open and the project is 97 percent complete

Border SafetyInspection Facility

Where — Los Indios Free Trade International Bridge

Cost — $7 million

Project length — .001 miles

Work started — February 2015

Completion date — December 2016

Analysis — The BSIF at the Los Indios bridge is 75 percent complete

U.S. 281, rehab and widening (west)

Where — 0.099 miles east of Hidalgo County line to near FM 506

Cost — $5.2 million

Project length — 2.8 miles

Work started — February 2015

Completion date — February 2017

Analysis — The rehab and widening of U.S. 281 near the Hidalgo County line is 64 percent complete

Bridge replacements

Where — Kornegay Road just south of FM 1561 and Mile Line 20 Road a half-mile east of Nelson Road

Cost — $1.4 million

Project length — Varies

Work started — February 2016

Completion date — December 2016

Analysis — The project consisting of replacing two off-system bridges and their approaches is 48 percent complete

Bridge rehabilitation, Rio Hondo

Where — Rio Hondo mechanical lift bridge

Cost — $12.4 million

Project length — 0.117 miles

Work started — Not available

Complete date — December 2017

Analysis — Complete bridge rehab and overhaul is 6 percent complete

Source: TxDOT