A new North McAllen road — the Auburn/Wisconsin connector — opened on Thursday, a street that city officials said will serve as an artery between North Main Street and North 10th Street and is expected to enhance east and west traffic flows in the northern part of the city.
The short yet pivotal four-lane connector road attaches Auburn Avenue on the west with Wisconsin Road on the east, providing a more efficient option for motorists in North McAllen to drive eastbound from North 23rd Street to U.S. Highway 281.
“We were stuck,” City Commissioner Javier Villalobos, who lives near the new connector and represents that region, said of north McAllen residents needing to drive south to access east and west corridors. Villalobos added, “This gives us access straight, instead of having to take Trenton to 281.”
Villalobos was speaking at Thursday’s ribbon cutting for the new road, which cost roughly $321,000, the funding coming from a 2013 bond election, Mayor Jim Darling said.
For more than a year, Darling has said that the city has improved north and south traffic flows, including the extensions of Bicentennial Boulevard. But Darling has said that the city has needed to shift priorities to east and west corridors.
“This road now is significant because we’ve pretty well wrapped up our north-south roads,” Darling said, referencing ongoing construction projects on Bicentennial Boulevard, 29th Street and Taylor Road.
This is a step in improving east-west corridors, Darling said.
“Although this is a short segment,” Assistant City Manager Michelle Rivera said, “it’s an integral part of our roadway system as an east-west connector north of Trenton.”
This marks the second north McAllen road project city officials have announced in December. In early December, city officials broke ground on what was said to be a year-long construction project that will extend Bicentennial Boulevard nearly 3 miles, from Trenton Road to State Highway 107.
Street projects have been ongoing for the previous five years, and are expected well into the future as McAllen continues growing. The south end of Bicentennial Boulevard was also closed due to construction for more than a year — and it reopened this week.