TxDOT and Valley Residents Debate New Highway

Local News

The Texas Department of Public Transportation is trying to add a 22-mile roadway in the RGV to improve mobility. Residents expressed their thoughts on the proposed highway, but not all were satisfied.

With the population in Hidalgo County growing, so does the amount of cars on the highways. In three years, Hidalgo County is expected to have over 1 million residents. That is why TxDOT is proposing to add a new highway that would run north and south.

Octavio Saenz, TxDOT Spokesperson said, “The need for this project is that it adds an additional north and south corridor. If you look at the population numbers based on the U.S. Census, the population in Hidalgo County has grown 27% from 2005 to 2015, and it’s projected to grow even more. So we’re looking at options now that will alleviate that congestion.”

One Alamo resident said a new highway that runs north and south is necessary, especially when there’s and accident on Expressway 83 going west.

“I work in Edinburg. Sometimes it’s 30 minutes to one hour stuck in traffic. God, if there’s an accident, it is backed up all the way to Donna.”

TxDOT officials say the addition of Highway 68 will also help out when it’s time for residents to evacuate during emergencies. Leaders from local non-profit organizations also want TxDOT officials to hear all the comments from the community before they decide where the new highway will be built.

Josue Ramirez, Co-Director of Texas Low Income Household said, “Transportation is really a necessity in the Rio Grande Valley, especially in terms of emergency preparedness routes. It’s also important to take in consideration the of the communities that will be affected by these solutions and by these changes.”

A final decision on the location of the new highway will be made during the summer. TxDOT officials say the start date for the construction of the new highway will depend on how soon they can clear space for it.

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