Road construction continues on Boca Chica Boulevard from Expressway 77/83 to International Boulevard as the Texas Department of Transportation continues to install medians on the boulevard.
The $4.7 million project, which is 1.5 miles, began in October 2019 with the project seeing more activity in January 2020. It is expected to be completed in mid-fall of 2021.
Officials said the changes should improve traffic flow on one of the city’s busiest boulevards. Some lane closures have occurred as the project progresses.
Octavio Saenz, TXDOT spokesman, said during the start of the project there were some issues with utilities that delayed the project for a few weeks. “We also encountered additional work that was not shown in the plan such as additional drainage inlets, the addition of concrete driveways to meet ADA compliance since we were adding sidewalks throughout the limits of the project,” Saenz said in an email.
Saenz said the City of Brownsville also requested for the median to be extended at IH69 that called for additional median work and sidewalks near IH69. TXDOT also had to move a large sign that was located inside the right-of-way which was a request by the city as well, Saenz said. In addition, the city asked for a fiber optic conduit line to be installed on the project on the north side of the road.
Although the contractor did not request days or time suspension because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, “they were impacted by personnel not coming to work,” Saenz wrote.
Work will continue next week with a culvert crossing that will go across the boulevard. This was to be a separate project, but TXDOT decided to include it in the current project to avoid further traffic disruption.
As TXDOT worked on the project, traffic in the area got so chaotic with motorists disregarding the warning signs and driving around barricades and over freshly poured concrete, that the state agency reached out to the Precinct 2 Cameron County Constables Office to help with traffic control and enforcement.
Precinct 2 Constable Abelardo Gomez Jr. said constables were at the location for about two weeks and were surprised how motorists not only exhibited disregard for the TXDOT crews working on the road way, but for themselves as well.
“TXDOT requested assistance because of the lack of respect by drivers. They were just driving all over the barricades and through the materials and equipment,” Gomez said.
Gomez said he was very surprised how much disregard the drivers have for workers.
“I feel really sorry and concerned for their safety. They were driving through the workers and driving around our patrol cars,” to get around the barricades.
Numerous citations were issued to drivers for disregarding the barricades and Gomez added his constables could be out there again helping with traffic if TXDOT requests help.
According to TXDOT, Boca Chica Boulevard is ranked 93rd out of 100 congested roads in the state. The annual hours of delay per mile is 186,259 while the annual congestion cost is $5,531,648.