This article originally appeared in the Friday Aug. 9, 2019 issue of the Progress Times.
With the school year set to begin later this month, the Agua Special Utility District is prioritizing construction near Palmview’s E.B. Reyna Elementary School that could cause traffic congestions for families there.
At their Monday meeting, Agua directors spoke to engineers with the Houston-based S&B Infrastructure, Ltd construction company-and stressed the urgency of completing the project before the school year begins on Aug. 19.
Currently, OG construction is installing sewer lines in the intersection of La Homa Road and W. Griffin Parkway as part of the $42 million Palmview sewer project. The road has been closed for months due to a giant pit near the parent drop off area where the sewer lines are being installed with alternate routes being used to drop off and pick up kids at school.
According to Agua board President Lloyd Loya, OG Construction previously said that sewer lines installation in that area are expected to be completed within three to four weeks.
“We have kids coming, and first day of school is on the 19th, it’s going to be crucial for us to finish this,” Agua board President Lloyd Loya said. “I don’t want any traffic jams or accidents, or parents feeling unsafe.”
Agua directors spoke to engineers with S&B Infrastructure- the firm supervising the project-on the status of the roads.
“Our main priority is the first day of school, to fix it in a timely manner to avoid any accidents,” S&B Engineer Humberto Guerrero said. “Contractors are making it a priority to get it done, get some traffic control out there and make sure that it goes well.”
Agua SUD General Manager Jose E. “Eddie” Saenz said that there have been meetings with OG construction, the city of Palmview, the La Joya school district’s police and transportation departments and Agua SUD to coordinate traffic control in the area with a traffic control map to be presented to and approved by S&B Infrastructure this week.
“That will determine how many officers will be needed to control traffic,” Saenz said. “The school district is predicting that they’re receiving as many as 70 new kids and families coming in who will not be familiar with traffic routes in the area. We need to make sure anyone going to school there knows how to get there and not go to an intersection that will send them to detour to somewhere else.”
Though OG Construction is prioritizing completing their work on the road, Engineer Gabriel Salinas said that won’t mean that traffic will automatically be alleviated in the area.
After OG construction is done, they have to maintain it for two weeks until the city of Palmview paves it, which will likely cause more traffic in the area, he said.
Then the Texas Department of Transportation will “tear the streets again” as part of their $20 million project to expand Veterans Boulevard between Abram Road to La Homa Road to five lanes next year.
“It’s a delicate intersection,” Salinas noted. “We’re actively working with everyone involved to make it work. We made sure they know how important it is to the district that this is completed.”
The project was delayed due to a myriad of issues ranging from expired permits and faulty equipment, Salinas said.
He noted that parents may have to take alternate routes such as coming into the school through the entrance of a power substation in the area.