Freeway interchange project almost complete

HARLINGEN — Colored LED lights and a couple loads of crushed granite are all that stand in the path of the completion of one of the city’s most high-profile beautification projects.

The $293,349-project to spruce up the western entrance to the city beneath the I-2 and I-69E interchanges commenced in April and should be finishing up within the next few weeks, city officials say.

Almost all of the funding for the landscaping project, $250,000, came from a Keep Texas Beautiful award bestowed on the city and designated solely for a beautification project.

The site has been planted with mostly native plants from the Rio Grande Valley. Walkways are in place, and installation of colored LED lighting is almost finished.

“We’re getting very close,” Jeff Lyssy, superintendent of the Parks and Recreation Department, told the parks board yesterday.

“You can see where we planted grass on either side of the interchange and it has an irrigation system in place.

“On the south side of the interchange, we’ve decided to, instead of just having dirt and ugly grass, put decomposed granite in — about two inches of decomposed granite,” he added. “It will make a nice, fresh look.”

Trees planted include orchid, royal Poinciana, wild olive, desert willow, crape myrtle, Texas mountain laurel, yaupon holly, esperanza, Mexican Poinciana (red) and Texas Poinciana (yellow).

Shrubs include bird of paradise, Turks cap, firecracker, mist flower, Barbados cherry, dwarf oleander, Texas red yucca, dwarf cenizo, duranta and dwarf liriope.

“We’re going to put some boulders in to make it more attractive, and we considered maybe putting in some purple fountain grass, which looks really nice,” Lyssy said.

“These LED lights that are under the bridges, there are 24 of those,” he added.

“When they’re all installed at night-time, they will illuminate the area with different colors, red or yellow or green or blue.”

Southern Landscapes, the McAllen company which won the TxDOT bid on the project, is known for its landscaping work at the McAllen Convention Center, Palms Crossing shopping center and the Antigua Subdivision.

Trees and Shrubs planted on site

Trees planted at site

Orchid

Royal Poinciana

Wild olive

Desert willow

Crape myrtle

Texas mountain laurel

Yaupon holly

Esperanza

Mexican Poinciana

(red)

Texas Poinciana

(yellow)

Shrubs

planted at site

Bird of paradise

Turks cap

Firecracker

Mist flower

Barbados cherry

Dwarf oleander

Texas red yucca

Dwarf cenizo

Duranta

Dwarf liriope

By the Numbers

LOCATION: I-69E

and I-2 Harlingen

COST: $293,349,

with $250,000 funded by Keep Texas

Beautiful award

PROJECT LENGTH:

0.1 miles

CONTRACTOR:

Southern Landscapes

WORK STARTED:

April 3