Edinburg is left with a “solid foundation” as key road improvements will either be completed or started this year, according to Mayor Joe Ochoa.

In his final speech on the state of Edinburg, Ochoa said the City is unofficially the Valley’s third largest community and five new road improvements will highlight that fact. Road improvements are set to focus on all of the city’s key areas for increased traffic and development.

Ochoa said widening of Canton Roadfrom McColl to U.S. Business 281 is underway and is slated to be completed late this summer. The currently two-lane road will be a five lane thoroughfare with a curb, gutter and sidewalks once it is completed.

The City plans improvements to turn Owassa Road from Jackson to McColl into a four lane road with a curb and gutter to facilitate traffic from a major medical corridor running east and west.

Improvements to north Jackson from University to Chapin are also set to begin to alleviate traffic and development in those areas, and long anticipated engineering plans for the expansion of Sugar Road will be finalized this week, Ochoa said in his speech.

Ochoa said he expects construction of Sugar, from Trenton to Owassa to begin “within a few months.” The City is also currently in discussion with TXDOT for assistance in eventually widening Freddy Gonzalez Drive from McColl to 10th Street.

“Edinburg is blessed, when parts of this nation and even some of our neighboring cities are having tough economic times,” Ochoa said in his speech. “The City of Edinburg continues to show growth, economic development, below national unemployment levels, improved infrastructure, (and) improved quality of life.”

Some highlights of Ocoha’s speech include announcing the latest Census Bureau figures showing the population of Edinburg to be at about 68,700 making it the third largest in the Valley.

Tax valuations are at $3 billion, and total construction activity in Edinburg for 2008 was valued at more than $92 million.

Unemployment in the city for 2008 averaged about 4.9 percent, and bank deposits surpassed a record $1 billion, Ochoa said. Sales tax revenues for December 2008 saw an increase of 21 percent over the same time in 2007.

“Edinburg is about people working together to improve the quality of life for all citizens,”Ochoa said. “I am confident that a solid foundation has been built and I know that Edinburg will continue to grow no matter what.”