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Edinburg and McAllen unify with Hike & Bike Trail

Photo by Maria Ruiz/Progress Times.

The cities of McAllen and Edinburg are developing the second-largest trail route in Texas with their latest trail connector project. Last Friday’s groundbreaking ceremony fortified the Jackson Hike and Bike Phase 2 sidewalk expansion.

McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos said ‘the spirit of cooperation and working together’ is crucial when working with neighboring municipalities and entities.

“We talk about connectivity, whether it’s the metro, airports, but now this is something our community can utilize,” he said. “There’s a lot of areas where you can walk, [and] jog, and we’re expanding it.”

Photo by Maria Ruiz/Progress Times.

The Hike & Bike Trail, estimated to be 1.5 miles and 10 feet wide, will unify Bicentennial Boulevard and 2nd Street trails to the Jackson Road Hike & Bike trail junction at Jackson Road and Wisconsin Road.

Villalobos emphasized the accessibility between the cities through this expansion.

“We’re finally working together even more. Mission, Edinburg, Pharr, McAllen — we’re all connected. There’s no distance between us. We are together,” he said. “This is just another project that will assist in connecting us. Now, we can go all the way from McAllen and Edinburg and back, [on foot].”

Ramiro Garza Jr., the Mayor of Edinburg, explained the importance of incorporating walking-friendly options for citizens between the municipalities.

“For us [Edinburg and McAllen] it’s about providing options to our residents to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, roadways are built for vehicles, [and] traffic. And the issue here is that we want to encourage our communities to utilize our trails.”

Photo by Maria Ruiz/Progress Times.

He continued.

“The idea here is: how do we connect them to ensure that our residents can start in one area of our city and go into another city uninterrupted,” said Garza.

Taking on the project alongside TxDOT is contractor Go Underground LLC. Project Manager Joe Olivarez said the sidewalk will change from a standard 4-foot wide sidewalk to a 10-foot wide one.

“We’re just excited to be a part of this, and we look forward to getting this done in a timely manner,” Olivarez said. “Hopefully, we’ll have a ribbon cutting then, on time and on budget.”

The cities of McAllen, Edinburg, and the Rio Grande Valley Metropolitan Organization helped fund the $2,683,776.55 cost. The sidewalk expansion will take 300 days, and is set for completion in November.

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