Laredo’s multi-agency transportation board held a virtual workshop on Thursday to garner input on the prioritization and funding of future road projects.
The Laredo Webb County Area Metropolitan Planning Organization consists of three county commissioners, two council members, a member of the Laredo Mass Transit Board, TxDOT’s district engineer and a member of the private sector. They vote on how federal and state transportation dollars should be spent in the area.
In this workshop, however, the MPO opened the floor to all council members, county commissioners, the Regional Mobility Authority and the private sector to voice their opinion on which projects most need to be funded.
Even before construction begins, it typically takes years for road projects to get going.
Conducting engineering studies takes two to three years, obtaining the land and utilities relocation another three years, the design two years and completing the construction documents another three years, Roberto Rodriguez, transportation engineer for TXDOT’s Laredo District, explained.
MPO Director Kirby Snideman noted that these projects are not meant to be executed on a dime but studied methodically and with plenty of input.
The Texas Department of Transportation has a Unified Transportation Plan, which appropriates funding for road projects across the state over the next 10 years. The Laredo District has $1.2 billion worth of projects in this plan, including the replacement of the bridge at Uniroyal Drive and upgrading parts of Loop 20 into a freeway.
Councilmember Vidal Rodriguez noted that council has prioritized the construction of overpasses at Cuatro Vientos Road, and Assistant City Manager Riazul Mia underscored the need to build up the infrastructure in south Laredo, which is growing steadily.
Overpasses at Lomas Del Sur, Cielito Lindo and Sierra Vista would each cost $22 million, noted TxDOT District Design Engineer Tito Gonzalez.
And Councilmember Vanessa Perez commented that the city loses money in the bottlenecks in northwest Laredo. Addressing these congestion issues could open up the faucet of revenue to help fund these other projects, she said.
The MPO did not make any motions Thursday, as this was just a workshop, but will take into account the feedback they receive going forward.
Julia Wallace may be reached at 956-728-2543 or firstname.lastname@example.org