Growing Lanes: Portion of FM 802 to be widened - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Growing Lanes: Portion of FM 802 to be widened

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Posted: Monday, September 9, 2019 1:39 pm

The Texas Department of Transportation is planning to widen a portion of Ruben M. Torres Sr. Boulevard, also known as FM 802, and raise concrete median in the high traffic area and will hold a public meeting Tuesday to discuss the plan.

The project, which is about 1.36 miles long, will begin at FM 802 and FM 1847 (Paredes Line Road) and end at Old Port Isabel Road. It would involve the construction of a raised concrete median and widening of the four exiting lanes to six 12-foot wide travel lanes and two 10-foot wide bike lanes. The 6-foot wide sidewalks will remain in place along both sides of the roadway. In addition, the project includes proposed right and left turn lanes at intersections throughout the project.

It’s all about improving safety on the road.

The public meeting begins with an open house from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. with the meeting following right after at the Brownsville Events Center on Parades Line Road. A panel of TxDOT experts will be on hand to address any questions or concerns the public may have.

Officials said the public will have the chance to view the project schematic and provide input on the project.

TxDOT spokesman Octavio Saenz said FM 802 is ranked 92nd out of the top 100 most congested roadways in Texas. By widening FM 802 and adding medians, authorities said this could help alleviate the traffic congestion on the portion of FM 802 from Paredes Line Road to Old Port Isabel.

“It will be matching the other part of FM 802” that was widened to six lanes several years ago, Saenz said. “The need for the project also stems from the fact that FM 802 has had a significant increase in traffic in the past several years and that is one of the things we will be showing the public.”

At the public meeting, attendees will be presented with information on why the widening is needed, the average daily count of vehicles that use that portion of the road, and will also be shown a video of driver behavior on the road.

“We have seen types of behavior that are very dangerous in that segment of the road,” Saenz said.

There are several steps that TxDOT has to take before construction begins. The first is to hold a public meeting and get public comments and then receive an environmental clearance, which should happen in January 2020. Bids for the project would go out in August 2020 and construction will begin in September 2020.

“It’s a good project, a good safety project and we are mandated to improve mobility in the state of Texas,” Saenz said. “We want people to be involved in what is going on … FM 802, that segment that we did (earlier) with the median and the six lanes, it’s been a success and we hope it continues on. We hope to remove this road from the top 100 congested roads.”

The project will cost about $7.5 million and will take 1 ½ years to two years to complete.

The public meeting will be conducted in English. Spanish interpretation will be available at the meeting.

After the public meeting is held, the public will be able to view what was presented at the meeting Wednesday on TxDOT’s website. Residents will have 15 days to comment on the project.

More information on the public meeting and project can be found at https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/get-involved/about/hearings-meetings/pharr/091019.html

lmartinez@brownsvilleherald.com

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