*Final report and Appendices found at the bottom of the page*
Study to identify the most appropriate route of a new location roadway that would move traffic north to south, located West of FM 1472 and serve as a possible relief route for FM 1472 for non-commercial traffic. The study will account for receiving input on the most appropriate from stakeholders in the identified location area of the new location roadway. It will also identify existing environmental constraints that can be avoided to include in the identification of the most appropriate route. The study is anticipated to be completed by June 2022.
The Webb County-City of Laredo Regional Mobility Authority (WC-CL RMA), in cooperation with the City of Laredo and the Laredo & Webb County Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (LWCAMPO), has completed a route alternatives study for a new north-south roadway extending generally from Bernadette Lane and Aquero Boulevard in the south to FM 1472 in the north, intersecting somewhere between Copper Mines Road and Vidal Cantu Road. Locally, the project is known as the River Road Route Alternatives Study.
In the 2020 North Laredo-Webb County Transportation Planning Study, River Road was identified as one of the first projects that should be built to have an immediate impact on relieving traffic congestion in the area, particularly along FM 1472. This study is the first step toward making River Road a capital project. This study serves to initiate the project and provides the necessary project definition to begin establishing partnerships among public entities such as the WC-CL RMA and City of Laredo, as well as various private property owners and developers that have identified some segment of River Road in their plans.
Following this study, the project planning phase will include a more detailed environmental analysis looking at planned land uses and an updated traffic analysis; schematic-level design considering configuration of utilities, drainage, and roadway intersections; and public input on how the proposed designs mitigate potential impacts to the built and natural environment. From there, more detailed plans, specifications, and cost estimates (PS&E) will be completed, and the necessary property acquisition will begin that is required to preserve the right-of-way that River Road will be built within, allowing construction to commence.
The estimated probable cost in FY 2028 dollars of the 5.57-mile locally preferred alternative for River Road is $154.8 million, which translates into roughly $27.8 million per mile. This includes an estimate for right-of-way acquisition based on average property values in the area per square foot multiplied by the square footage of the total right-of-way. This is considered to be a conservative cost estimate using an inflation rate that reflects how material costs have continued to escalate in recent years. This will change as more information becomes available. Locations where the proposed roadway encroaches on wetlands and waterways must be investigated further to ensure proper mitigations are incorporated into the design. Public utility mainlines necessary to support planned developments in the area are also unknown at the time of this opinion of probable costs that need to be identified through further investigation.
Major components driving the probable cost of River Road include new bridge structures that cross extreme changes in elevation due to creeks in the Rio Grande watershed crossing through the study area as well as locations where the landscape would be either cut or filled in requiring the use of concrete retaining walls and embankments due to the variable nature of the topography. Property acquisition for River Road’s right-of-way is another major cost driver that will need to be investigated further for individual properties and could potentially be offset by developer participation as partners in the project’s development. Coordinating with individual property owners and developers that River Road is proposed to cross will be key to advancing this project forward through environmental assessment, design, and funding identification. Detailed cost estimates for the costs of construction and professional services can be found in Appendix C.
Proposed Project Schedule
The schedule begins with this study and continues into the funding identification. (Refer to Figure 15 in the Study document available for download on this page.) In the 6-9 months following acceptance of this study, project partnerships will need to be established and funding for subsequent project planning activities such as schematic design and environmental analysis needs to be identified. The RMA has appointed an Innovative Finance subcommittee to take on the challenge of identifying funds for this project to proceed into the next phases of development.
Access the file below by clicking on the link: