Growing Lanes: Work begins on widening of FM 802

Road closures are seen Thursday, Jan 7, 2021, along Ruben M. Torres Boulevard in Brownsville as plans for road improvements will begin soon. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald)

The Texas Department of Transportation has started work on a project that will widen a portion of Ruben M. Torres Sr. Boulevard, also known as FM 802, and will raise a concrete median in the high traffic area.

The project, which is about 1.36 miles long, will begin at FM 802 and FM 1847 (Paredes Line Road) and end at Old Port Isabel Road. It involves the construction of a raised concrete median and widening of the four exiting lanes to six 12-foot wide travel lanes and two 10-feet wide bike lanes. The 6-foot wide sidewalks will remain in place along both sides of the roadway. In addition, the project includes proposed right and left turn lanes at intersections throughout the project.

The project was to begin last year but was delayed by the weather and holidays, TxDOT spokesman Octavio Saenz said. Work on the project began Monday.

In an earlier interview, Saenz said FM 802 is ranked 92nd out of the top 100 most congested roadways in Texas. By widening FM 802 and adding medians, authorities said this could help alleviate the traffic congestion on the portion of FM 802 from Paredes Line Road and Old Port Isabel.

“It will be matching the other part of FM 802” that was widened to six lanes several years ago, Saenz said. “The need for the project also stems from the fact that FM 802 has had a significant increase in traffic in the past several years and that is one of the things we will be showing the public.”

“We have seen types of behavior that are very dangerous in that segment of the road,” Saenz said.

TxDOT held a public meeting on the project in September 2019 where the public was told what the project would entail and why it was needed.

The project will cost about $7.5 million and will take 1.5 years to two years to complete.

lmartinez@brownsvilleherald.com