PHARR, Texas – The Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge team will be traveling to Mexico City at the end of the month for ongoing discussions relating to the bridge’s second span project

Shortly after receiving approval from the International Boundary and Water Commission and their Mexican counterpart, a groundbreaking ceremony was held on the Mexican side of the bridge to mark the start of construction. 

Luis Bazan

On the U.S. side, however, things have not been as streamlined. One of the delays is the completion of the environmental impact study as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge Director Luis Bazan had hoped to have it cleared by the end of last year, but he and his team are still waiting on its conclusion. Once that is in place, construction is expected to take about 18 months. 

As Mexico steams ahead, it is imperative that Pharr remains in close communication with the relevant agencies and officials across the border. In addition to status updates, Bazan hopes the trip will also highlight Mexico’s progress and encourage a more expeditious response from the U.S. side going forward. 

“There’s going to be two sets of timelines here,” said Bazan. “And, we have to ensure that the U.S. is on the same page as Mexico. The same level of urgency needs to be poised on the U.S. side, and we will try every effort. And, we have some conversations pending and some meetings pending to see how we can make that happen, and use that as leverage – Mexico’s process as leverage for our sake.”

Finishing the second span project as quickly as possible is a top priority, not only for the increased capacity but for the development of other projects on this side. Bazan noted that some companies are waiting to erect industrial warehouses or other spaces until the connectors from the port of entry to outside bridge trade corridors are complete.

While in Mexico City, the bridge team will also be attending the North American Strategy for Competitiveness (NASCO) conference. As members of the tri-national organization, they look forward to gleaning the latest from the meeting, no doubt much of which will inform their anticipated strategic plan for the bridge. 

Building on the city’s own strategic plan, Bazan and his team have been working with the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center – a part of the UT-Rio Grande Valley’s College of Engineering – to formulate a multi-year plan to optimize the bridge. A survey was sent out to stakeholders and they expect to release the plan in May. 

In the meantime, Bazan says he and his team are focused on maintaining and fostering more business at the bridge. 

The trip to Mexico City trip will be from March 28 – 31.

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