Multi-million drainage project to begin in Hidalgo County

The Hidalgo County Drainage District is about to begin a multi-million dollar drainage project voters approved last November.

Flooding is always a concern whenever a big storm blows through the valley, especially in Hidalgo County, after a hail storm last spring caused flooding in north McAllen.

That's why county leaders asked voters to approve the $184 million Hidalgo County Drainage bond.

Drainage district manager Godrey Garza says the project has two parts; the first includes $84 million worth of infrastructure improvements across the county.

"They include relieving chokes in the system to manage the flood water and recertification of areas of floodways," Garza said.

The second part is a $100 million project to build a drainage canal from Edinburg Lake to the Laguna Madre, 90 percent of which will be paid for by the federal government.

When the Raymondville canal project is finally completed, drainage systems on the eastern side of Hidalgo County won't have to drain flood water from the western side of the county, thus increasing the drainage capacity across the entire system.

"So it will pick up all the flood waters from western Hidalgo County and carry them north so the water from the west won't impact the east, Garza said.

Hidalgo County emergency management coordinator Oscar Montoya says it may even save lives.

"The quicker we can get water out of the way the quicker we can get to people in need of help," Montoya said.

The bonds will be sold at the beginning of March and the district hopes to begin construction in April.