Hidalgo County commissioners pushed forward two major infrastructure projects Wednesday — one that will facilitate international trade and the other that will help keep water out of people’s homes.
Precinct 2 Commissioner Eddie Cantu and Hidalgo Mayor Sergio Coronado celebrated the expansion of Dicker Road in Hidalgo with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The street is heavily used by truckers who haul goods from the international bridges in Pharr and Hidalgo to McAllen and Mission.
“It’s actually one of the thickest roads next to the expressway in the whole RGV,” Cantu said of the new roadway. “It’s made to handle all the truck traffic that’s going to come through here.”
Precinct 2 and the city of Hidalgo partnered to expand Dicker Road from Jackson Road to 23rd Street in McAllen. The project cost $17 million, but the bulk of it, or $15 million, came from the Rio Grande Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization.
The expansion makes it easier to transport goods that come through the ports of entry and alleviates traffic as well, Cantu said.
Near the end of his speech, Cantu teased another announcement as he thanked Earthworks, the company who paved the road, for allowing them to work on a separate “pet project.”
“Under this very road, there’s some box culverts that serve two purposes, drainage and can anyone guess the other purpose?” Cantu, who has spearheaded a regional hike and bike trail, asked. “So, the boxes under Dicker are for a tunnel that will be part of a hike and bike trail that will connect Hidalgo to McAllen and Pharr.”
Cantu said he planned this before the construction on Dicker began to avoid cutting the street open once the construction of the trail reaches that point.
His office has also already added tunnels under Military Highway, he said.
Also on Wednesday, Precinct 4 Commissioner Ellie Torres broke ground on the expansion of the South Main Drain, which will add 3.2 miles of drainage to the existing system.
The project began in April 2021 with the expansion of the drain from McColl Road in McAllen to U.S. Highway 281 in Edinburg.
“Well, that project is 80% complete and we’re now ready to get started on Phase II of our project,” Torres said.
She said her office partnered with Hidalgo County Drainage District No. 1 to help increase the capacity of the drain and ultimately remove water from homes and businesses and channel it to where the water belongs, the Laguna Madre.
Phase II will expand the drain from I-69 C to Alamo Road and calls for the widening of ditches from 130 feet to 260, which is expected to add about 113 million gallons of capacity, as well as indirectly benefit over 211,600 acres of infrastructure, officials said.
The project will cost an estimated $5.6 million.
Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez said it’s a good start.
“I think we’re moving in the right direction, but there’s going to be more that we’ll need to do,” Cortez said.
However, he assured attendees that because of the work the commissioners have done, the county will be able to ask for more money for drainage projects without raising taxes on residents.