Congressman Cuellar Secures 100 million in Federal Funding for Bridges I and II Renovation Projects
LAREDO, Tx, Jun. 11.- — Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Director of Field Operations for Laredo Field Office David Higgerson, Laredo Port of Entry Port Director Albert Flores, and City of Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz, toured the Bridge II Project, a passenger bridge in Laredo, which is currently undergoing renovations. Since 2015, Congressman Cuellar has secured $100 million in federal funding to renovate Bridges I and II. Participating members did a walk-through of Bridge II and were provided an update on the restoration project. The congressman also held a Q&A for media immediately following a tour of the premises.
The Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge, or Bridge II, was ranked as one of the busiest crossing for bus passengers in 2016, having processed 41,856 buses and 1,039,605 bus passengers. In the same year, Bridge II processed an additional 4,605,050 automobiles. In consideration of all ports of entry nationwide, 25% of all passengers entering the U.S. by bus from both Canada and Mexico did so at Laredo II.
Due to the high number of crossings, the Laredo port has struggled with traffic congestion and is in critical need of additional space and modern updates. Since 1995, bus traffic has increased 98% and bus passengers by 233%. The Bridge II Project will significantly ease pedestrian and vehicle traffic as well as upgrade the facility to increase efficiency and functionality– the modernization of Bridge II is expected to reduce bus peak wait times by 47%.
Construction on the passenger bridge continues to progress rapidly. The renovations include a New Vehicle Processing Facility with new lanes, x-ray and waiting areas, bathrooms and inspection canopies, which will improve the flow and processing of bus and automobile traffic. Additional renovations include replaced utilities, electric, paving, walkways, curbs, gutters, storm drainage, exterior communications and information facilities, fire protection and alarm systems, site improvements, and dedicated Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration area with permanent inspection facilities.
Throughout the restoration, the temporary facilities at the port have continued to operate efficiently. Since the start of construction, inbound pedestrian traffic has increased by 0.9%, bus traffic is up 4.5% and bus passengers are up 6.4%. The estimated completion date for the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge renovation is December 31st, 2018. [Staff/Laredo Press]