Hidalgo County Precinct 4 Commissioner Joseph Palacios celebrated the reconstruction of Mile 22 ½ with a ribbon cutting, a road that will impact 120 homes and two schools with the Edinburg school district.

“We came together for the betterment of our local community,” Palacios said. “What started as a project on school property turned into a project like this.”

Before there was only one method to reach Betty Harwell Middle School and Carmen Avila Elementary School which was the entrance off Farm to Market Road 2812 onto Carmen Avila Road.

Access to the both schools made it a nightmare for parents to drop off students, school buses to access the school grounds and emergency vehicles to reach the schools.

Mile 22 ½ runs now runs east and west from Carmen Avila Road to Brushline Road.

The project became crucial for county officials to construct when in 2011 a stray bullet injured two Harwell middle school students and the small road made it difficult for Hidalgo County Sheriff Deputies to respond. The school district partnered with the commissioner's office to create a safety wall with the help of the school board.

The county donated the dirt from a regional detention pond and the entire safety berm project was finished withing two months on the north and west sides of campus. The next phase of the project will be adding side walks near the campus.

“The access to the schools was critical, not just for safety but for better mobility,” Palacios said. “We wanted to make sure we got our kids to school as safe as possible.”