Construction kicks off for Texas-New Mexico border improvement project

Nov. 25, 2002
For approximately 4,500 residents in colonias along the Laredo, Texas-Mexico border, clean, running water was only a dream. The people of Texas have now changed that.

Laredo, TX, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2002 -- For approximately 4,500 residents in colonias along the Laredo, Texas-Mexico border, clean, running water was only a dream. The people of Texas have now changed that.

Through the help of the Texas Water Development Board and the North American Development Bank, Webb County Judge Mercurio Martinez, Jr. and the Webb County Commissioners, the City of Laredo will do the work that will bring water to areas outside the city limits of Laredo in Webb County that will benefit many underserved communities. Webb County and the City of Laredo have together executed a $22 million Joint Colonias Improvement Project, which includes the construction of a water line and wastewater services.

"This is truly a remarkable and important accomplishment after many years of advocacy and hard work," said Mayor Betty Flores. "Basic services for all of our citizens is a goal that can only be attained through public and private partnerships. The hard work of Webb County elected officials, community advocates and our state legislators made this possible. We should all have a special Thanksgiving prayer for all of them," she added.

In addition to providing water to the colonias, the project has been oversized to accommodate future development in the affected area. This was accomplished through an innovative agreement between local developers, the City of Laredo and Webb County to address both the future development and water distribution needs of the City and County.

"We welcome the initiation of this project, so long in coming, which is vital to the well-being of the citizens of Laredo and Webb County," said Mercurio Martinez, Webb County Judge. "I want to thank the City of Laredo and all Webb County officials, including the directors of planning, economic development and engineering for their cooperation in the development and implementation of this important quality of life project," he continued. "I would also be greatly remiss if I did not extend heartfelt appreciation to Commissioner Judith Gutierrez, Pct. 2, whose tireless work on behalf of the constituents of her precinct made this project possible," he added.

The overall project is funded by the Texas Water Development Board (TWBD) Economically Distressed Areas Program and includes six Work Orders or design and construction contracts in the SH 359 Project Area and two Work Orders in the Mines Road Project area. The TWDB is the state agency charged with collecting and disseminating water-related data, assisting with regional planning, and preparing the State Water Plan for the development of the state's water resources and administering cost-effective financial programs for the construction of water supply, wastewater treatment, flood control and agricultural water conservation projects.

The groundbreaking event for this historic construction project took place on Friday, November 22, 2002 at 3:00 p.m. on the southeastern outskirts of Laredo. The current phase of the contract, referred to as SH 359 Work Order No.4, includes the construction of 28,800 linear feet (over 5 miles) of a 16-inch water transmission line. The project will provide water to the distribution systems within the 10 colonia areas located in the SH 359 project area.

"The Texas Water Development Board is proud to be a part of this project and is looking forward to breaking ground on it. I would like to commend all of the community leaders that stuck with this project to make it a reality," said Kevin Ward, TWDB Executive Director. "Future generations will greatly benefit from this project. Staff stands ready to assist in any way that we can to get this system up and running."

In addition to the funding by the TWDB, the North American Development Bank is funding the design and construction of a wastewater collection system and treatment facility for the Mines Road Project area and an additional water transmission line for the SH 359 Project area. The City of Laredo and Webb County have completed procurement and the design process has recently been initiated.

"This project is significant for us, in that it is a key part of the Texas Plan. Through this set of projects, we are demonstrating the success we can have in project development when there is proper coordination between the Bank and local and state governments," stated Raul Rodriguez, NADB Managing Director.

The current number of affected households and beneficiaries for the 15 colonias, as measured by Census 2000, is 3,725 in the SH 359 Planning Area and 787 in the Mines Road Planning Area. The proposed water and wastewater improvements are designed to provide adequate water and sewer service to the Year 2016 for a total population of approximately 4,500.

For more information on the partners in this project please visit the following web pages:

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