MISSION, Texas – Mission Mayor Armando O’Caña says efforts to build the Madero International Bridge in western Hidalgo County are going well.

The bridge, which could be renamed the Gateway to the World Bridge, could be located just upstream from Anzalduas International Bridge. It would include rail and pedestrian traffic but not trucks.

“We will not have trucks because do not want to compete with Anzalduas Bridge. Remember, we are partners with the City of McAllen with Anzalduas,” O’Caña said.

Mayor O’Caña gives the Rio Grande Guardian monthly updates on the Madero International Bridge project. He made it one of his top economic development priorities when he came into office.

Asked what the latest news was, O’Caña said: “We are working on a draft inter-local agreement between Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority and the City of Mission.”

O’Caña said the intent of the inter-local is two-fold.

“The first fold is to be able to begin the clearance for the environmental study. The second fold is to be able to do the right of way acquisition that is needed for the possibility of a new railroad track between Mission and Hebbronville, or a track from Mission to Alice. It depends on the study, which one is more feasible to do.”

O’Caña said the Madero International Bridge has a unique feature.

“The presidential permit allows us to make it an international railroad bridge. This is important. We know there will be more demand for rail cargo under the new USMCA trade agreement,” O’Caña said. “We would have rail and pedestrians.’

Asked when construction of the bridge might begin, O’Caña said:

“Right now we are looking at the possibility of getting construction underway in 2025. Within two years of that date we should be able to finish construction.”

Asked about the funding, O’Caña said: “We are making special arrangements for the funding right now. We are doing our financial plan study, which is being conducted as we speak. The whole package together would cost about $160 million.”

O’Caña said Mission leaders are planning to make a trip to Washington, D.C., in May. He said the trip would have been made sooner but the key people to meet with in Washington have changed.

“They have shuffled around the presidential permit department. I think they moved it from the State Department to the White House. We are going to establish a new contact on this visit.”

Asked for a wrap-up remark, O’Caña said: “Everything is looking very good. A lot of doors are opening for us and when we open the bridge we will be called the Gateway to the World.”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows Mission Mayor Armando O’Caña at a meeting of the Rio Grande Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization in Weslaco.