Sidewalk Boom: Grants fund $3.2 million project

HARLINGEN — A windfall of grant money will help pave about $3.2 million worth of sidewalks across town.

The Texas Department of Transportation has awarded grants to fund four projects aimed at paving more than 16 miles of sidewalks.

The grants require the city pay 20 percent of project costs, or $253,136.

“We’re excited about it,” Assistant City Manager Carlos Sanchez said. “It’s great for the community.”

The city’s master plan, which proposed the sidewalks, helped the city land the grants, Sanchez said.

“The sidewalks are all on state right-of-ways, so that helped, too,” Sanchez said.

The projects will help the city meet goals set by Mayor Chris Boswell’s Wellness Council and Healthy Harlingen initiative aimed at helping residents lead healthier lifestyles.

“It makes us more active,” Sanchez said. “It goes toward our goal of a walkable community where you can walk to school or walk to work.”

As part of the grants, the state will design and construct the sidewalks, Sanchez said.

The state plans to build 6-foot-wide sidewalks with six-inch reinforced concrete featuring steel rebar.

That’s “wider and more durable” than the city’s original proposal of 5-foot-wide sidewalks with four-inch concrete, Sanchez said.

“Through these grants, TxDOT is supporting one of our city’s goals, which is to provide safe transportation facilities that our citizens can enjoy while living an active lifestyle,” Sanchez said.

State crews will build sidewalks in four parts of town.

A $1.3 million project calls for 4.4 miles of sidewalks along Harrison and Tyler avenues from F Street to 77 Sunshine Strip.

Meanwhile, a $946,107 project will pave 5.29 miles of sidewalks from Wilson to Whalen roads.

As part of a $605,528 project, crews will build 5.4 miles of sidewalks from Washington Avenue to Loop 499.

In the fourth project, the state will use $422,250 to build 1.48 miles of sidewalks from Rio Hondo Road to FM 106.

Sanchez said construction is expected to begin as early as next summer.

Where will the sidewalks be?

$1.3 million — 4.4 miles along Harrison and Tyler from F Street to 77 Sunshine Strip

$946,107 — 5.29 miles from Wilson to Whalen roads

$605,528 — 5.4 miles from Washington Avenue to Loop 499

$422,250 — 1.48 miles from Rio Hondo Road to FM 106

Total $2.8 million