Drainage work prompts road closure in McAllen

McALLEN — City officials here have sought to use citizen surveys as a guide to conducting city business. Atop the concerns for McAllen residents in the 2015 and 2019 surveys: drainage and traffic.

McAllen voters stuck to their word in 2018, when they voted in favor of a two-proposition bond election, with $22 million toward drainage projects and $3 million for traffic improvements. But those projects have a cost beyond the money. From Monday to Sunday, Harvey Avenue between 23rd Street and Bicentennial Boulevard will be completely closed.

The city has encouraged motorists to visit the website https://mcallen.net/bondupdates for the latest drainage project updates. Construction crews will be installing new storm sewer infrastructure as part of the drainage improvement project in the Westway Heights neighborhood, just north of McAllen High School and south of Nolana Avenue.

This drainage project, which broke ground in April, is just one of 66 drainage projects city officials have identified across the city, all of which will reach an estimated total of a roughly $50 million drainage master plan, with the funds coming from different sources, including the bond.

The Westway Heights project will cost $2.4 million, 75% of which will be reimbursed by a federal grant. At the April groundbreaking, City Engineer Yvette Barrera estimated the project’s completion date for September.

Until then, city officials will continue to worry whenever the skies open up.

“Every time it rains, I just cringe at the fact that an inch of rain impacts this area,” City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez said at the groundbreaking ceremony.

This construction has been taking place on parts of the three soccer fields on Daffodil Avenue next to Bicentennial Boulevard. And the size and scope of this construction was not completely realized until a federal grant offered assistance.

Once the rain storms that impacted some 2,800 McAllen homes in June 2018 were declared a national emergency, the city had an opportunity to apply for the grant.

“We realized, like many cities in the Rio Grande Valley, that we had some deficiencies,” Rodriguez said.