Mexico City's government plans to spend $8.5 million on public works projects around the Basilica of Guadalupe to improve the area's "urban image" and save the public spaces around the important Catholic pilgrimage site, officials said.

The urban renewal project will be the first in 35 years around the Basilica of Guadalupe, which is located in the northern section of the Mexican capital, the Federal District's government said in a statement.

The project calls for constructing a commercial corridor in the area around the basilica, which honors the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's patroness.

The project, which will break ground in about a month, is designed to "address the need for growth and improvement, allowing the recovery of public spaces," the Mexico City government said.

Traffic flow in the area, infrastructure and services will be improved as part of the project, municipal officials said.

The project also aims to standardize the nearby commercial areas and improve lighting and traffic signals.

Officials plan to landscape an area of some 34,220 sq. meters (8.4 acres) as part of the project.

The urban renewal project around the Basilica of Guadalupe, the second most-visited Catholic church in the world behind only St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, will improve nearby avenues, which are closed at night.

More than 5 million pilgrims travel on Dec. 12 of each year to the Basilica of Guadalupe to sing, pray and thank Mexico's patroness for her intercession.