Work has begun on a road rehabilitation project that will be conducted by the Texas Department of Transportation.

Glen Sullivan, director of public works, said a 1.8-mile section of Up River Road, from Suntide Road to Southern Minerals Road, is going to be rehabilitated through a Metropolitan Planning Organization project.

Nueces County Commissioners approved an engineering services contract with Maverick Engineering Inc. in August that provided for the completion of the plans, specifications and estimate package, Sullivan said, at a cost of about $48,000, which came from funds obtained from certificates of obligation sold by the county in 2004.

The project was originally supposed to take place in two parts, due to the makeup of the stretch of road in question, county officials said.

A piece of Up River Road owned and maintained by the city of Corpus Christi that runs from Hunter Road and extends east about 700 feet is situated in the middle of two larger, county-owned sections located on either side of the city's stretch of road, Sullivan said.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Peggy Banales, whose precinct includes Up River Road, said in August that the county had entered into an interlocal agreement with the city that would allow the projects to be combined into one, with the city responsible for reimbursing the county for the work done on the 700-foot stretch of road.

This agreement, Sullivan said, would make the project make more efficient use of taxpayer funds, which ultimately are paying for the project, since the city will now be dealing with the county and the county, in turn, will deal directly with TxDoT.

"We said, 'What's the traveling public going to think?'" Sullivan said. "They're going to think we don't know what we're doing."

The rehabilitation project, which begins today and is scheduled to last about eight months, will include rebuilding the asphalt surface and widening the shoulders to 3 to 4 feet, Sullivan said.

It will cost an estimated $1.7 million, with the county having to put up 20 percent of the total cost and the state putting up the remaining 80 percent, he added.

The county could ultimately be responsible for paying about $400,000 to cover construction costs, with the city responsible for reimbursing the county about $36,000 from that amount.

TxDoT officials said the road will be shortened to one lane of traffic with signalers directing motorists on when to go and stop, so drivers are asked to use caution when using that stretch of road or find an alternate route to their destination.