Hidalgo County commissioners pushed ahead with two major infrastructure projects on Wednesday — one that will facilitate international trade and another that will help keep water out of homes.
Precinct 2 Commissioner Eddie Cantu and Hidalgo Mayor Sergio Coronado celebrated the Dicker Road expansion in Hidalgo with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The street is heavily used by truckers transporting goods from the Pharr and Hidalgo international bridges to McAllen and Mission.
“It’s actually one of the thickest highway-side roads in all of RGV,” Cantu said of the new roadway. “It’s designed to handle all the truck traffic that will pass through here.”
Precinct 2 and the City of Hidalgo have partnered to expand Dicker Road from Jackson Road to 23rd Street in McAllen. The project cost $17 million, but the bulk, $15 million, came from the Rio Grande Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization.
The expansion makes it easier to transport goods that pass through entry points and also eases traffic, Cantu said.
Towards the end of his speech, Cantu teased another announcement thanking Earthworks, the company that paved the way, for allowing them to work on a separate “wildlife project.”
“Beneath this very road there are culverts which serve two purposes, drainage and can anyone guess the other purpose?” Cantu, who led a regional hike and bike trail, asked. “So the boxes under Dicker are for a tunnel that will be part of a hiking and biking trail that will connect Hidalgo to McAllen and Pharr.”
Cantu said he planned this before construction on Dicker began to avoid cutting into the street once trail construction reached that point.
His office has also already added tunnels under the military highway, he said.
Also Wednesday, Precinct 4 Commissioner Ellie Torres broke ground on the south main drain expansion, which will add 3.2 miles of drainage to the existing system.
The project began in April 2021 with the expansion of the drain from McColl Road in McAllen to US Highway 281 in Edinburgh.
“Well, this project is 80% complete and we are now ready to start Phase II of our project,” said Torres.
She said her office has partnered with Hidalgo County Drainage District No. 1 to help increase the capacity of the drain and ultimately remove water from homes and businesses and channel it to where the drain is. water belongs, the Laguna Madre.
Phase II will expand the drain from I-69 C to Alamo Road and calls for the widening of ditches from 130 feet to 260, which is expected to add approximately 113 million gallons of capacity, as well as indirectly benefiting more than 211,600 acres of infrastructure, officials said.
The project will cost approximately $5.6 million.
Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez said it was a good start.
“I think we’re going in the right direction, but we’ll have to do more,” Cortez said.
However, he assured attendees that because of the work done by the commissioners, the county will be able to request more money for drainage projects without raising taxes on residents.