County moves to acquire land for south corridor

SAN BENITO — The second phase of the South Parallel Corridor is proceeding with the county working on land acquisition along the route, officials said this past week.

The $8.5 million project will cover 5.2 miles and will link FM 509 and FM 1577 on the southeastern edge of San Benito. The first phase, completed in May 2016, is a 2.11-mile stretch from Rangerville Road to FM 509.

Phase III will take the corridor to I-69E/U.S. 77 near Brownsville.

“We have started doing the right-of-way acquisition,” Cameron County Engineer Paolino Vega told the board of the Harlingen-San Benito Metropolitan Planning Organization this past week.

The new highway tracks south of the interstate and will primarily cut through agricultural land which is largely undeveloped. Project backers say they hope the corridor will help ease traffic congestion in Harlingen and San Benito, provide an alternate route in case of hurricane evacuation and also spur economic development.

The schedule now calls for construction bids to be let in January 2019.

TxDOT Projects Update

FM 106 roadway reconstruction

Location: From FM 1847 to FM 510

Cost: $15.6 million

Project Length: 11.4 miles

Contractor: Texas SAI Inc.

Work started: November 2015

Completion date: December 2017

Work finished: 75 percent

The project consists of a major overhaul of the roadway and includes several wildlife underpasses and adjacent fencing.

BSIF at Los Indios

Location: Los Indios Free Trade International Bridge

Cost: $6.9 million

Project Length: .001 miles

Contractor: Foremost Paving Inc.

Work started: February 2015

Completion date: March 2018

Work finished: 78 percent

The new border safety inspection facility will inspect trucks from Mexico entering the United States. Work on the facility has been suspended since September while TxDOT awaits a land donation from Cameron County.

U.S. 281 roadway rehabilitation

and widening

Location: From FM 509 to .05 miles west of FM 1479

Cost: $3.9 million

Project Length: 1.65 miles

Contractor: Foremost Paving Inc.

Work started: February 2017

Work finished: 30 percent

Bridge rehabilitation Rio Hondo lift bridge

Location: Rio Hondo

Cost: $12.4 million

Project length: 0.117 miles

Contractor: PCL Civil Contractors Inc.

Work started: Summer 2016

Completion date: February 2018

Work finished: 91 percent

The project consists of a complete overhaul of the mechanical lift bridge over the Arroyo Colorado. Traffic should begin crossing in late April.

State Highway 107

Location: Combes

Cost: $3.7 million

Project length: 0.465 miles

Contractor: Foremost Paving Inc.

Work started: August 2017

Completion date: October 2018

Work finished: 18 percent

South Parallel Corridor

Land acquisition is continuing for new roadway connecting South Parallel Corridor from FM 509 to FM 1577. Estimated cost is $8.4 million. Tentative construction contract letting date is January 2019.