Cameron County road construction projects are cruising along, according to updates presented Tuesday to the commissioners court.

Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority Executive Director Pete Sepulveda Jr. said getting county infrastructure improvements to the construction phase is important to securing federal funding.

“It’s an opportunity to go before the court and let them know if we have any issues they can assist with,” he said. “We want to make sure our delegation in Washington is aware of the projects we’re working on, whether it’s a rail or bridge or road project, so that we can tap into funding.”

Plans to build a second access bridge to South Padre Island, this one north of Laguna Vista, are in the environmental impact study phase.

Sepulveda said the mobility authority received input on the project last year from outside engineers and are resubmitting some of its studies on which the Texas Department of Transportation based recommendations that will save costs. The design phase could start during the next 15-18 months.

“That’s a very complex project,” he said. “There are a lot of phases to it, and it takes a lot longer than a normal project.”

Plans to make the second South Padre Island bridge a toll road have been scrapped. County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. said Texas administrators have moved away from establishing toll roads because they haven’t seen a return in revenue.

Sepulveda said the biggest focus for the project is still getting its environmental plans cleared, which will open it to state and federal funding.

The Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority is seeking funding for the expansion of the Veterans Bridge, which will add four passenger lanes for $1.5 million and three commercial lanes for $10 million. If state or federal funds are secured, Sepulveda said construction could begin within a year to 18 months.

Construction on Old Alice Road from Highway 100 to Highway 550 is set to begin in about one year. The project will cost about $5 million, Sepulveda said.

While it’s smaller than the other projects on the county’s roster, he added, the improvements will be important to residents who travel between Brownsville and Los Fresnos.

By Nadia Tamez-Robledo Staff Writer