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Boca Chica repaving slightly behind schedule

December 22, 2018

Milling and repaving of S.H. 48/Boca Chica Boulevard between I-69E and Central Boulevard is nearly done, even if it’s taking a little longer than initially anticipated.

The project to scrape off the old asphalt down to the concrete road base and lay down new asphalt — accompanied by no small amount of dust — began on Dec. 11 and originally was scheduled to be complete by Dec. 19, with lane closures taking place between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. when traffic was lightest.

A revised timeline from the Texas Department of Transportation has the project being completed by 5 p.m. today (Dec. 21), after lane closures were changed to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., allowing crews to take advantage of the daylight and to work faster and safer despite the heavier traffic.

No doubt, the stretch of Boca Chica sees a lot of traffic. According to TxDOT’s 2017 district traffic map, S.H. 48 just west of the interstate accommodates around 20,000 vehicles a day, though it’s even busier just east of the I-69E.

While Boca Chica might not have appeared in need of repair, the road had developed tiny cracks that would have opened with temperature changes and water seepage, said Octavio Saenz, Pharr District public information officer. Letting it get worse would have meant more expensive, time consuming repairs in the future, he said.

Until the project is complete, TxDOT encourages motorists to drive with caution, avoid distractions, obey the speed limit and posted signs. Delays are possible during peak traffic.

TxDOT inspects its roads every few years to see if they’re ready for milling and repaving, or at the very least a seal coat, Saenz said. TxDOT won’t be done with Boca Chica when the current project is finished. According to the agency’s Project Tracker, TxDOT has proposed construction of a raised median on Boca Chica from I-69E to International Boulevard.

A public meeting was held in July for the project, which would entail an 11-foot-wide median that would narrow down to two feet at intersections, and construction of sidewalks. The purpose of the project would be to enhance safety, reduce traffic congestion and increase mobility, according to TxDOT.

The project received environmental clearance in October and the final design was completed in November. Construction on that project would take place during 2019 and 2020, according to TxDOT.

Saenz recommended TxDOT’s Project Tracker web page as a way for the public to keep up with the agency’s activities in Brownsville and elsewhere across the state.

sclark@brownsvilleherald.com

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