PHARR, Texas – Colleagues like to brag on Pharr Bridge Director of Operations Fred Brouwen that he has been there from the beginning because he was operating the tolls when the first trucks crossed.
But, Pharr Bridge Board Chairman Edgar Delgadillo jokes that he can top that because he saw the bridge being built.
“I was there when my Dad was hauling dirt for the first part of the bridge. I remember sitting on top of the hill,” Delgadillo said, “I must have been 17, 18 years old. My Mom would make lunch for my Dad and the rest of the guys working for my Dad,” Delgadillo told the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service.
“My Dad told us, ‘They said they’re building a bridge.’ We asked, ‘To where?’”
According to Delgadillo, all you could see was a hill and then the fields.
The Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge measures 3.2 miles in length, making it one of the longest bridges to connect two countries.
Now, decades after watching the first span being built, Delgadillo leads the Pharr Bridge Board as it works on construction of a second span.
“Twenty some years later, I’m here on the Board. I’m chairman, so it is a little personal. Life comes full circle sometimes,” Delgadillo said. “Just to see the new expansion coming up. We’ve worked hard for it.”
Luis Bazan, the Pharr Bridge Director, sat down for his monthly update on bridge matters with the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service. This month’s discussion was longer than normal as Bazan gave plenty of insider information about construction of a new span, the building of a spur connecting to the new customs facilities on the Reynosa side of the bridge, a possible change in the bridge’s hours of operation, approval of a bond issue for the DAP program, and plans to have an even bigger celebration of the Fresh Produce Season in 2022.
With regard to the spur that links the expressway to the Aduana facilities in Reynosa, Bazan said: “Ten years max, pushing for that project, widening of the roads leading to and from the Aduana. There’s a reason that Mexico put in so much money into the Aduana in Reynosa with Pharr—they put in $90 million worth—because logistically, it just makes sense for imports and exports.”
Bazan explained that Mexican roadways, or arteries, connect with a major Mexican thoroughfare called “La Super Via Mazatlan/Matamoros.”
According to Bazan, the modernization of that access corridor is the kick-off to the construction of the additional span of the Pharr/Reynosa bridge. Construction is slated to start in 2022.
Bazan said: “Mexico is moving at the speed of business.”
Bazan noted that BANOBRAS, which is funding the project, already has the money available and agreements have already been drafted with a construction company.
Regarding the Pharr Bridge expansion project, Bazan said, “We’re on track right now.”
On another front, Luis Bazan said that the Pharr Bridge is in the process of developing a Memorandum of Understanding with a Mexican organization called El Consejo Mexicano de Comercio Exterior del Noreste, with the acronym “COMCE Noreste”.
Founded in 1962, the mission statement of COMCE Noreste includes promoting, facilitating, and strengthening international private sector commercial interests. The MOU with COMCE will allow a more targeted, efficient promotion in the Mexican market for the Pharr Bridge.
Bazan also said that the Pharr Bridge is issuing bridge revenue bonds to complete projects under the DAP, or Donations Acceptance Program.
In a closing note, Bazan told the Rio Grande Guardian that Rio Grande Valley folks can look forward to a full one-week celebration at the start of the next fresh produce season in 2022.
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