LA FERIA, Texas (KVEO) — A Cameron County project to improve a drainage ditch in La Feria began Friday with an outdoor question and answer session for residents of the Mariposa Ranch subdivision.
Work will start on the Cameron County Precinct 4 project next week, four years after severe flooding from a rainstorm caused the idea to be proposed.
“Being a government project, there’s a lot of red tape involved. We’re finally here to fruition, our Cameron County engineer just issued notice to proceed to our contractor,” said Gus Ruiz, the Cameron County Precinct 4 Commissioner.
Ruiz told KVEO that the project will take 100 work days to complete.
Robert Macheska, the Chief Operating Officer for Diamond GDJ Engineering (the engineering firm that is helping the county on the project) specified exactly what that meant.
Macheska said that workers for Diamond Eight Industries, who won the contract to do the actual work on the project, would work an average of 20 days a month for around five months to complete the work.
The project is slated to be completed by December, but officials hoped it would be finished before then, weather permitting.
“We’re at the mercy of mother nature and god,” joked Ruiz.
Ironically, the flooding the drainage ditch improvement project is meant to relieve for the residents of Mariposa Ranch could be delayed by severe storms like the ones Rio Grande Valley experienced in May.
“Two weeks ago, it rained either every day or every other day. And so you got to wait until it stops raining then you got to wait for it to dry,” explained Ruiz.
Hurricane season runs from June until November, and chances of rain tend to be higher during that time.
The project comes with a hefty price tag of $2.1 million, but it is at least partially funded through FEMA grants, which Ruiz told KVEO was part of the reason it took so long to get approved.
“Of course, just like any construction project, we won’t know the exact penny until it’s closed out,” said Ruiz.
The project will improve upon 1.4 miles of drainage ditch, widening the channel and making it deeper. In addition, the water channel under Mallory Street will be widened, making it easier for water to flow from one side of the ditch to the other.
Crews will work to remove trash and sediment that have built up in the drainage ditches that slowed the water to a trickle.
Macheska said it was important for residents to do their part to keep the drainage ditches in the Rio Grande Valley free from debris.
“We just ask everybody, please, dump in the proper place that you’re supposed to, the county dumps and what have you. Do not dump in these drainage ditches,” he said.