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MISSION, TX-Hidalgo County has received $7.4 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to help prepare infrastructure in anticipation of the Anzalduas International Bridge opening this fall. The money provided the missing link in a $13 million roadway improvement project to prevent bottlenecks from occurring throughout Mission once the bridge links the city with Reynosa, Tamaulipas in Mexico.

The project, dubbed Farm-to-Market 396 at U.S. Expressway 83 Overpass, will widen Farm-to-Market 396 (Bryan Road) from two lanes to four lanes. Bryan Road, which intersects U.S. Highway 83, runs south into Stewart Road, which is the link to Anzalduas International Bridge.

In addition, Highway 83 will become an overpass over Bryan Rd. “Currently, Bryan goes over (Expressway) 83, but with the reconstruction it will be flipped,” comments Daniel Silva, project manager with Mission Economic Development Authority.

But lack of funds meant infrastructure improvements weren’t going to happen immediately, prompting concerns about bottlenecks caused by traffic coming from maquiladoras in Mexico. Also triggering traffic congestion worries is the increased development activity in industrial parks in the area, such as the 1200-acre Sharyland Business Park, a Hunt Cos. development and the 150-acre Expressway Business Park, owned by the Mission Economic Development Authority.

“We had already set aside money, but it wasn’t enough,” Silva tells GlobeSt.com. “We were going to try to take care of this with other funds, or streams of revenue.” However, the Texas Department of Transportation received a share of the stimulus to help improve infrastructure throughout the state.

“When it came out that TexDOT was looking for shovel-ready projects, we were ready,” Silva comments. “We already had the background information and designs done on this one. We had the plans in place. We just needed the money.”

With funds in hand, Hidalgo County will begin the bid process in January 2010, with construction scheduled to start by March. Silva says the total construction time should take 12 to 14 months.

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