The Corpus Christi City Council approved the selection of Bay Ltd. to conduct street improvements along County Road 52 in a bid contract totaling $2.55 million last week.

A project estimate conducted by Maverick Engineering previously for the City of Corpus Christi placed the project’s cost at $2.38 million. The project is a joint endeavor with Nueces County, utilizing funds from 2008 voter approved bonds.

The project will lead to a widening of County Road 52 through the Calallen area, including a continuous left turn lane, driveways and various storm water improvements.

“The improvement will provide a relief valve for traffic that has inundated Five Points, especially during the morning and afternoon hours,” Nueces County Commissioner Mike Pusley said. “That’s the main reason for the project, along with the opportunity to develop open property in the area with a further developed roadway in front.”

The city set aside a total of $1.2 million, while the county is also putting up $1.2 million from 2007 Series Certificates of Obligation. Along with County Road 52 construction, work on County Road 69 was also bid out at the same time, in the amount of $677,006, which is included in the $2.55 million approved bid.

The construction for County Road 69 will be funded from the same Street Capital Improvement Budget Bonds as County Road 52. The interlocal agreement between the city and county for the 50/50 split only covers construction on County Road 52. County Road 69 will be reconstructed and widened, with the addition of five foot wide paved shoulders, according to bid documents provided by the City of Corpus Christi.

Pete Anaya, Corpus Christi Director of Engineering Services, said a cleanup resolution at the end of construction would delineate what funds might be going back to the county for their part of the County Road 52 project.

“At $1.2 million, it should be pretty close to the mark after construction is completed,” Anaya said.

City Council members also approved an interlocal agreement with the Nueces County Water Control and Improvement District No. 3 to allow for the necessary easements that would give mutual access along County Road 52 for the purposes of construction.

As part of the agreement, the city will, if necessary, provide pumps and piping at the intersection of County Road 52 and County Road 69 to allow the NCWCID No. 3 to provide irrigation water to land owners along County Road 52.

Pusley said over the last few years, the city council has worked well with the county on a number of projects.

He pointed to the use of lights the county received for their parks inside the city limits. By working closely with the city, Pusley said, impovements were made that benefited all residents.

“The county and city got together to work on this and that just hasn’t happened in years past,” Keischnick said. “Egos got set aside and we’re just trying to do what’s best for our constituents.”

The project is expected to last eight to nine months, with completion possible by May 2012.

The County Road 52 project was originally envisioned as a four-lane roadway, with an overpass constructed on U.S. Highway 77 that would support such traffic. However, traffic counts along County Road 52 did not meet the state and federal government's minimum standards for funding.

City and county leaders hope their improvements will result in increased traffic counts, which could then lead to state and federal funding that would pay for the construction of the original four-lane design for County Road 52.

Managing Editor Tim Olmeda contributed to this report.