October 21, 2009

International Boundary and Water Commission
United States Section

Granjeno, TX -- The United States Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) held a groundbreaking ceremony today to mark the start of construction on Lower Rio Grande Flood Control Project levee improvements. The work is being carried out with appropriations from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act).

Construction has begun on two segments – the Banker Floodway North Levee and the Main Floodway. The ceremony was held along the Banker Floodway levee near Granjeno where the USIBWC construction ties into levee improvements previously constructed by Hidalgo County. The USIBWC is raising levee height to comply with standards established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the 100-year flood.

“We are moving forward quickly to implement these projects so we can meet the goal of the Recovery Act to jumpstart the economy and create jobs,” said U.S. Commissioner C.W. “Bill” Ruth. “At the same time, we are making significant improvements to the flood control infrastructure in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.”

The Banker Floodway construction, covering three miles of levee between Granjeno and 23rd Street, is being performed by Inuit Services, Inc. of Anchorage, Alaska, which was awarded a $950,997 contract in accordance with a federal program targeting qualified small businesses in distressed areas. Construction is scheduled to be completed in February 2010.

Construction has also begun on a 43-mile reach of the Main Floodway in Hidalgo County, Texas to provide enhanced flood protection for the communities of McAllen, Hidalgo, Pharr, San Juan, Alamo, Donna, and Weslaco. Longhorn Excavators, Inc. of Richmond, Texas was awarded the $19,169,159 contract, with construction scheduled to be completed by September 2010.

The Recovery Act includes $220 million for USIBWC levee projects in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas and the Upper Rio Grande Flood Control Project in West Texas and Southern New Mexico.

The USIBWC provides regular public updates on its planning and spending of Recovery Act funds at www.recovery.gov and www.state.gov/recovery. An updated project schedule is available at www.ibwc.gov/Recovery/RGF.html.

For more information:
Sally Spener