Taylor Road is already in the early stages of construction for the long-awaited project that will turn the two-lane roadway into a five-lane roadway. At the Oct. 24 meeting, Mission City Council approved Texas Cordia Construction to begin the first phase of a project that has been in the making since the city first surveyed residents in about 2014.
WHAT IS HAPPENING, WHEN, WHERE AND WHY
As it stands, Taylor Road has two lanes running in opposite directions. Once expanded, the road will have five lanes — two lanes on each side running in opposite directions, a left-turning lane and sidewalks on both sides of the street.
“The city of Mission is growing tremendously,” Assistant City Manager J.P. Terrazas said. “[Taylor Road] is just a two-lane roadway. And since it’s one of our main arterials, main collector roadways…we’re having to see more traffic. So that’s why we’re expanding this project because of the traffic.”
As of now, utility companies are moving utility lines to their new location before the actual road work begins. Terrazas said Texas Cordia will not begin widening the road for a few weeks, but he anticipates starting before the end of the year. Once the road work begins, locals should expect to see construction until about December 2025.
Mission split the project construction into two phases — phase one runs from Expressway 83 to Business 83 and will last about 13 months. Phase two runs from Business 83 to Mile 2 and will not begin until phase one is complete, but the contractor estimates phase two construction will last two years because it is a longer stretch of road.
When the work begins, Terrazas said the city plans to keep the roadway open for thru traffic and limit road closures to nighttime when there are less vehicles.
“Yes, there will be a day, half a day that sometimes we need to do a crossing. But we will have the detours and traffic control to send traffic on another route,” he said. “So we’re asking our traveling public to look for different alternatives, different routes, if they see that it’s getting congested.”
Mission, McAllen, Hidalgo County and the Texas Department of Transportation began a partnership to make the expansion project happen.
Taylor Road is a TxDOT roadway, meaning TxDOT maintains it, and only TxDOT can approve any construction. Additionally, Mission and McAllen had to enter into an interlocal agreement because Taylor Road is the divider between the two cities. With the agreement, McAllen granted Mission approval to move forward with the project.
Mission is also the fiduciary agent for the project, therefore taking the lead role and the sole entity that reports to TxDOT.
HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE
It took years for the Taylor Road expansion project to reach the construction phase because it involves federal funds.
“When it’s the federal monies, there’s a lot of red tape, red flags that we need to comply with,” the assistant city manager said.
Mission had to go through the Metropolitan Planning Organization to apply for federal funding. The MPO oversees the transportation planning process. Mission and TxDOT then negotiated a contract (an Advanced Funding Agreement) where both entities agreed to the terms and funding arrangement for the Taylor Road expansion project.
The cost of phase one construction is $6.2 million, and the city anticipates phase two will cost $12.5 million. But the federal government will reimburse Mission for 98% of the construction. The remaining 2% will come out of Mission’s general fund.
In addition to working with federal entities, the City of Mission spent years negotiating with other municipalities, talking to consultants and contractors, conducting environmental assessments and purchasing land (right-of-way acquisitions) from property owners along Taylor Road to expand. TxDOT paid for 80% of the right-of-way acquisitions.
Terrazas said city leaders experienced some pushback from the community in the early stages of the project because the city had to purchase right-of-way from homeowners.
“Some property owners have a lot of front yard. We were gonna buy at least 10 feet from the property and they were gonna lose some of their front yard, so they were in opposition,” he said. “But when we started doing public hearings and public meetings and showing them the schematics of how it was gonna look, that their property was gonna be more valuable, they started to like it.”
WHAT COMES NEXT
Now that Mission City Council approved Texas Cordia to conduct the phase one construction, TxDOT has to approve the plan and all documentation. Once TxDOT grants approval, the city planning department will meet with the contractor to develop a construction and materials schedule.
Once the city approves the construction plan, Texas Cordia can break ground on Taylor Road and begin the expansion.
The assistant city manager asks the community to be patient throughout these next few years of construction.
“There’s progress here in the city of Mission, but with that comes some sacrifice,” Terrazas said. “It took some sacrifice to see all this progress. The city of Mission is growing. The mayor and council have a lot of projects in mind that are coming to fruition now. So this is what we’re getting at, and we’re planning to have more projects in the future.”