County Road 52 could see major upgrades as early as July, according to city officials, after Corpus Christi City Council members approved an easement purchase which had been standing in the way of the project for several years.

Council members authorized the city manager to execute a real estate sales contract with the estate of Albert F. Stuchly for $89,900. Stuchly's property is located at the corner of U.S. Highway 77 and County Road 52. The city had filed two separate lawsuits in response to landowners who were reluctant to sell their easements to the city for the project.

The first of the lawsuits, to Calallen landowner Steven Hook, was settled in court during a condemnation by commissioners appointed by County Court-at-Law No. 4 Judge James Klager on March 9. The commissioners awarded Hook $15,000 for his .239 acres. The last day to file an appeal for the condemnation was on April 4. No appeal was filed, city real estate aquision manager Sonny Garza said.

Stuchly's estate entered into negotiations with the city for several weeks after the city filed a lawsuit for their property. The purchased easement is for .812 acres.

Corpus Christi Director of Engineering Services Pete Anaya said the project's estimated cost is $2.8 million. That figure has not been adjusted, he said. The cost will be divided evenly between Nueces County and the City of Corpus Christi.

The project would rebuild County Road 52 into a two-lane road, which would be wider and flatter and include shoulders and a turning lane. The vote on the contract was 6-0, with councilman Mark Scott abstaining, as his employer San Jacinto Title, was the title company on the contract. Mayor Joe Adame and councilman Kevin Kieschnick were absent at the vote.

Kieschnick said following the council meeting that he was glad the city didn't have to go the eminent domain route to see a resolution with the Stuchly estate.

"The city went back and fourth with numerous efforts to secure that property through negotiations with the estate," Kieschnick said. "We're finally moving forward."

Maverick Engineering was to have completed final design plans by the Tuesday's council meeting, with the project going out for bid by April 25, Kieschnick said. Anaya said depending on the city's and county's schedule, the construction company could be selected and construction initiated by July.