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NUEVO LAREDO, Tamaulipas – The City Council of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, has unanimously voted to request an amendment to the Presidential Permit to add eight lanes to the World Trade Bridge.

The vote took place during a Special City Council Meeting at City Hall on Wednesday. Special guest were representatives from City of Laredo, including Mayor Pete Saenz and Regent Jesus Olivares.

Everyone present agreed there’s no time to lose since Customs officials have said the trade bridge will reach its full capacity within the next five years or so. On a daily basis the bridge is used by 14,000 trailers.

“We will take every step together,” Saenz said. “We are the number one land port, the most important, that’s why we need to continue growing.”

The plan under consideration would extend the bridge from eight to 16 lanes, making it the biggest bridge in the World, according to Olivares. Both cities are requesting a change in the actual Presidential Permit the bridge has.

“This is an effort to move the international trade faster and more efficiently,” Olivares said. “This will benefit the area for a span of time of almost four decades.”

A first phase is already in process on the U.S. side. In about 18 months they hope to finish a Fast Lane that will allow inspection, weigh-in, and a direct connection to highways for the 27 percent certiPUR certified trailers and the 27 percent of empty trailers that use the bridge.

“Just by moving those two groups faster, the traffic will improve by 50 percent,” Olivares said.

Also, the City of Laredo hopes pre-inspection of trailers will be done in Mexico and on the U.S. side.

Alongside the improvement of the World Trade Bridge, Olivares improve exit lanes from the bridge to nearby highways, those being Bob Bullock-Loop 20 and Interstate 35, and nearby warehouses.

“Sometimes you can see trailer lines that extend to almost ten miles, and with this project we will be helping drivers to make a direct connection to their destiny,” Olivares said. “In this business, time is money.”

If all the processes go well, authorities expect permits will be ready in a year. The hope is there is no need for an environmental study. Then, the engineering process will begin and that could take almost four years.

“Both the State of Texas and the State of Tamaulipas are working together with us, and this helps a lot,” Saenz said. “This is a team effort, between the federal, state and local leaders, and we need to keep the communication going.”

The new Mayor of the City of Nuevo Laredo, Enrique Rivas expressed support for the project.

“It is our goal to see both our economies growing together and faster, taking advantage of our international trade, because we share the idea of a bright future,” Rivas said. “By accomplishing this goal we will show everybody we are stronger and that we are united.”

Saenz and Rivas agreed the future has many challenges, and working with unity is a must.

“We know how much we are able to do for our cities and our countries, by working together,” Saenz concluded.