Building Lasting Connections

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Mission, TX March 2022 — Bi-national connections define the Rio South Texas region. Following up on our previous discussion on the international bridges in the Laredo / Nuevo Laredo area, our focus now turns to the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) portion of Rio South Texas. The RGV encompasses the northern riverbank of the Rio Grande / Rio Bravo, from Brownsville, Texas at the mouth of the river on the Gulf of Mexico, roughly 130 miles upstream to the edge of the Falcon International Reservoir. Thirteen international bridges carry trucks, trains, busses, vans, cars, and pedestrians back and forth across the river 365 days a year, and there is even a hand drawn ferry for those less in a rush. Beyond supporting the vitality of the North American Supply Chain, local people of the Rio Grande Valley region also use the bridges often for business and personal reasons, such as shopping, dining, commuting, or visiting family and friends. Through these bridges, the bi-national fabric of Rio South Texas continues to strengthen every day.

With the Rio South Texas region situated at the hearth of the North American Supply Chain, the RGV’s commercial truck bridges complement and enhance the flows we previously discussed for Laredo. And the flows are impressive! In 2021, the Hidalgo sector saw 687,659 truck crossings, the Brownsville bridges saw 348,579 truck crossings, Progreso saw 54,946 truck crossings, Rio Grande City got 46,845, and Roma had a total of 33,019. Combined that’s 1,171,048 truck crossings in one year!

And while it’s fantastic to see how many trucks have crossed on RGV bridges, it is essential to look closely at why these bridges are so popular. Besides their geographic location along the fastest route connecting the East Coast and Midwest to the industrial centers of Northeastern and Central Mexico, and direct connections to the Interstate system, the RGV’s international bridges also make it easy to conduct trade. The Pharr International Bridge, for example, is one of the three international bridges that implements the Free and Secure Trade Program, expediting the northbound crossing. The Anzalduas International Bridge is one of the most efficient routes for empty southbound trucks by virtue of being located in very close proximity to some of the largest industrial parks in Northeastern Mexico. Brownsville’s commercial truck & train bridges sit in close proximity to multi-modal facilities allowing freight to switch to/from rail and waterborne vessels. The RGV’s commercial freight airports as well as its overweight trucking corridors, which allow truck to run at Mexican weight limits on designated roads, round out its commercial trade appeal.

Along with holding modern economic importance, many of these bridges, like the Roma-Ciudad Miguel Alemán International Bridge in Roma, Texas, have a cultural value as well. The original suspension bridge opened in 1928, is a National Historic Landmark for both the United States and Mexico, and is also a testament to the two nations’ lasting connections. If you want more information about what Rio South Texas has to offer for trade and investment, visit our follow us on social media @COSTEP.

Faith Chua