PHARR, Texas – The City of Pharr has reached a “major milestone” in its efforts to double the size of its Pharr International Bridge.

This is the message Pharr Bridge Director Luis Bazan wants to give to the import-export industry about construction of the so-called “second span.”

Speaking immediately following a Pharr Bridge Board meeting, Bazan told the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service:

Luis Bazan

“We have exciting news, as as you heard today during the meeting, presented on the engineering side by Maria Rangel, our assistant city engineer. We have reached a major milestone in the project, that milestone being that now, IBWC and their counterpart in Mexico, have reached an agreement, they’ve signed that the agreement, I think it’s like a 250-page document or so,” Bazan said.

“So now it’s basically onto the next steps. We still have the environmental assessment to clear, but at the end of the day, that is a major milestone because if you don’t have that signature from both commissioners on both sides of the border, you cannot construct anything over that water boundary.”

IBWC stands for International Boundary and Water Commission. There is a U.S. and Mexican component to this agency, which is based in El Paso, Texas.

According to the Pharr Bridge Board website, the expansion project will add a ‘twin span’ adjacent to the existing international bridge, essentially doubling its capacity. 

“The new span will add four lanes and a sidewalk to the existing four lanes and will include features such as two crossovers, additional lighting and electronic signage that will facilitate the flow of traffic, reduce wait times and enhance safety,” the website states.

“The additional four lanes will also greatly enhance the capability to reduce the time to respond to any problems on the bridge, such as accidents or mechanical breakdowns.”

The crossovers are very important, the website explains.

“At the crossovers linking the two bridges, it is envisioned that the number of northbound lanes will transition from four up to possibly six lanes. The six lanes entering the port will allow for proper separation of northbound traffic (e.g., FAST, non-FAST, and empty trucks on the commercial side; and SENTRI, Ready Lane and other cars on the passenger vehicle side).

“Nevertheless, the City is working closely with CBP and GSA as the twin span is being designed to ensure the new span’s connection to the federal Port of Entry will fully support CBP operations.”

The website says these advantages and benefits will accrue from constructing the second span:

  • 4 Additional Lanes
  • Increased Capacity 100%
  • Reduced Border Wait Times
  • Improved Safety and Security
  • A.S.T./Certified Designated Lanes
  • Official Gate-to-Gate (Mexico to U.S.)

Bazan said a few events could be staged soon to celebrate progress with the bridge expansion project, subject to the approval of Pharr’s federal and international partners.

“So, we’re always looking for ways to highlight our accomplishments. Moving forward, obviously under the city’s guidance, we are constantly improving, we’re constantly moving forward. So we want to celebrate with some type of a groundbreaking event, if permitted, obviously. We want to spread the news. We want to ensure that our customers are aware of all these advancements, of everything that’s taking place, and all the great strides that we’re making towards getting this bridge built on time.”

Editor’s Note: Click here to watch a video interview the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service secured with Pharr Bridge Director Luis Bazan at the conclusion of the Pharr Bridge Board meeting held Feb. 15, 2023.

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