EDINBURG — A major street abutting the university here will soon have a new look as a city project to reconstruct the street is about to get underway.

City officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday for construction on the Schunior Street Reconstruction Project.

Reconstruction of the roadway, from Closner Boulevard to Mon Mack Road, will include adding a median to increase safety and will include landscaping to beautify the area.

“What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to control the traffic so that they don’t think that Schunior Road is an expressway,” Mayor Richard Molina said. “We’re looking for students to be more mobile, they can rent apartments in the area, they can walk around, and we’re looking at safety as one of the top reasons.”

The city hopes the reconstruction will provide an efficient way for people to move around, not just in vehicles but also on foot and bikes.

“Infrastructure has to keep up with safe mobility,” City Manager Ron Garza said.

An additional phase of the project will add an 8-foot-wide hike and bike trail that will connect to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and the Freddy Gonzalez Hike & Bike Trail that city officials broke ground on last week.

“That means that the students that are attending UTRGV can go for a hike, go for a bike, go for a run, and come all the way around the city — and also neighboring cities — and come right back to UTRGV,” Molina said.

With the city’s continued growth, Molina expressed an aspiration for Edinburg to be a college town like Tempe, Arizona, home to Arizona State University.

“It is a beautiful city,” Molina said. “That is what I see Edinburg being — a real college town — and I think this is the start in the right direction by what we’re doing here because we’re talking about mobility, we’re talking about safety and accessibility.”

The project is a result of the 2018 bond election during which voters approved $30 million for drainage and street projects. The street improvement projects, alone, were estimated to cost nearly $10 million.

Construction is slated to begin Nov. 15 and estimated to be completed by Aug. 27, 2022.

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