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The City of Mission has landed yet another road widening project while having to pay only a fraction of the total cost. Addressing the need for a major north-south corridor on Mission’s west side, the city council is pressing forward with plans to widen Inspiration Road, between Expressway 83 and Mile 3 Road to the north.

City Manager Julio Cerda said the city is paying the engineering and right-of-way acquisition costs, or about $2.6 million of the total $12.9 million cost of the project. The rest of the funding is coming from the MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization).

Cerda explained that when funds become available, the projects that are “shovel-ready” get the funds first.

“Whoever is ready with a project, they’re the ones who get the funds. We need to take advantage of the 10-15 percent that we put in compared to 100 percent” of the construction costs. It’s an excellent way to leverage the funding, he said.

Over the past few years, the city has secured funding for one road project after another, during a time when highway construction funds are hard to come by. Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas has been the key to the city’s success in securing the funding, whether they are state funds, such as the Anzalduas Highway project, or MPO funds.

“The mayor was able to work his magic with the MPO and get some money,” said Cerda about funding for the latest Inspiration Rd. project.

Other projects, using leveraged funding, that were either recently completed or are currently in progress include:

  • Widening of Mile 2 Road East, from Taylor Rd. to Conway. This $10 million project was completed in November 2010. The city funded just under $2 million as its share of the cost.
  • Anzalduas Highway. This $24 million project will connect the Anzalduas Bridge to Expressway 83. The project is expected to be completed later this year.
  • Widening of Mile 2 Road West, from Conway to La Homa Rd. This $7.5 million project is in the engineering stage. City Engineer John Hernandez says they expect the project to be ready to bid in mid-2013, and begin construction by fall. The city’s share or the cost, for engineering, will be $1.1 million.
  • Overpass reconstruction at Inspiration Rd. This $22.1 million project will connect the north and south portions of Inspiration Rd., which are presently interrupted by the Expressway. Plans call for building a new overpass crossing over Business 83 and Inspiration Rd., as well as expansion of the expressway from four to six lanes. The intersection and frontage roads are to be completely reconstructed as well. Now in the engineering phase, this project is expected to be ready to go out for bids by June 2013, with 24 months of actual construction beginning in the fall of next year. The city is paying the engineering costs for the project, set at $2.5 million.

In April, when a study revealed that Shary Rd. and Expressway 83 is the most congested corridor in Hidalgo County, the city was able to secure help from the MPO and TxDOT to fund a $466,000 project, which includes synchronization of traffic lights and adding two more lanes crossing under the expressway at that intersection. The city allocated $142,600 for the project, while the state will fund the balance.

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