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The new $500,000 cold storage facility will hold both fresh and frozen produce for shippers as it awaits federal inspection by US Customs and Border Protection officers. The facility will be located within the CBP and General Services Administration installations.

Among the VIPs expected to attend the groundbreaking ceremony are Cameron County Eddie Treviño, Jr., and Cameron county commissioners, Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell and Harlingen city commissioners, San Benito Mayor Celeste Sanchez and San Benito city commissioners, and leaders from the Los Indios community.

The event takes place at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, March 24. The address is 100 Los Indios Boulevard, Los Indios, Texas. Refreshments will be served after the ceremony.

The Free Trade International Bridge at Los Indios is owned by Cameron County, the City of Harlingen and the City of San Benito. Cameron County owns 50 percent, while Harlingen and San Benito own 25 percent each.

The facility will be built mirroring the current revenue split, according to officials. Harlingen Economic Development Corporation CEO Raudel Garza explained the importance of the cold room inspection facility.

“For several years, Cameron County Judges and their staff have been working with the City of Harlingen, and the City of San Benito along with their respective economic development corporations and the Port of Brownsville to promote the use of the Free Trade International Bridge at Los Indios,” Garza said.

“Under the auspices of the Cameron County Logistics Alliance, the group has traveled to several produce shows, visited with Mexican officials in Mazatlán and have worked with other strategic partners to raise awareness of the asset that is the Free Trade Bridge.

Some of the shortest wait times at any crossing can be found at this bridge.” The significance of visiting Mazatlán, in Sinaloa, is that this is the region that produces much of the fruit and vegetables Mexico exports to the United States.

Currently, a lot of that produce is transported into the U.S. via the Pharr International Bridge. Cameron County leaders believe they can capture some of that business by improving infrastructure at the Los Indios bridge.

“One of the ideas for promoting the bridge was that we needed to accommodate the needs of the growing produce shipping business,” Garza said. “Without any refrigerated space at the Customs inspection dock, it was highly unlikely that a refrigerated truck would want to expose its cargo to the open air, especially in our South Texas summer weather. So, in discussion amongst the group and with federal authorities, the idea to construct refrigerated space at the existing inspection dock was born. On March 24, 2017, that idea begins its journey to reality.”

Garza makes the point that border bridge wait times at Los Indios is much shorter than other bridges in the Rio Grande Valley that handle 18-wheelers.

“Not only will there be two cold rooms with different temperatures to handle the different products, the Los Indios bridge also has USDA inspectors and entomologists on site. This will make it conducive to speed up the inspection process for any truck carrying produce into the United States with probably the shortest wait times along the entire border,” Garza said.

Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell mentioned the cold room inspection facility in his recent State of the City address. Boswell said: “The Harlingen Economic Development Corporation and the City of Harlingen also continue to strengthen their partnership with the City of San Benito and Cameron County by developing a cold storage inspection facility at the Los Indios Free Trade Bridge.

“This joint project with the stakeholders in the Bridge is being developed to fulfill a need to inspect produce in a climate-controlled environment. Without such a facility, there is no way to encourage and attract trucks carrying produce to cross at the Los Indios Free Trade Bridge.

“We know this is a significant part of the truck traffic market as we have seen at other Ports of Entry in the Valley. As we break ground on the facility, we hope that soon the cold storage inspection facility will enable our partners here in Cameron County to realize more fully the potential of the Los Indios Free Trade Bridge. It also helps us capitalize on new truck traffic being generated by the Mazatlán to Matamoros superhighway.” 

A newly constructed facility on the Reynosa side of the International Bridge here will allow for new goods to travel southbound into Mexico.

Apples, peaches, steaks and other produce that before, could not cross southbound on the Pharr International Bridge, will now be able to because a new inspection facility exists, in which Pharr contributed $400,000, according to Bridge Director Luis Bazan.

The facility is certified by Senasica Segarpa, which is a similar equivalent of a combination of the USDA and FDA. Segarpa will have offices at the facility, which will be 270 square meters, according to Felipe Garcia from Grupo Jugas. Grupo Jugas is a company in Reynosa that works in various sectors, including agriculture, fuel, logistics, trade and more.

This facility, which is already open, will likely benefit Pharr because the city makes its money at the bridge from southbound crossing tolls.

The city makes roughly $1 million per month from the bridge, and typically has more than 45,000 trucks cross southbound monthly. I

t is the only bridge in the area with both north and southbound truck traffic as well as passenger vehicles. T

he hope is this facility entices more companies to send more trucks southbound across the Pharr Bridge, since there is no other cold storage facility like this one in the area, Garcia said at Thursday’s Pharr International Bridge Board meeting.

In addition to the cold storage room and Segarpa offices, there will be a weigh station, gas station, open commercial area and private parking. Grupo Juga invested millions in infrastructure and development of this project, Garcia said.

Friday, 11 March 2016 19:06

TxDot to improve Mines Road

Traffic congestion on FM 1472 or Mines Road will soon see some relief.

The city of Laredo is continuing it's work with the Texas Department of Transportation to improve FM 1472 better known as Mines Road and in as soon as a week drivers should experience fewer traffic delays.

It may seem like construction is happening all throughout the city. "We have a lot of construction going on and there's more to come", said Mayor Pete Saenz.

Right now TxDot is making improvements to Loop 20 and FM 1472 also known as Mines Road. Mayor Pete Saenz says the enhancements will keep traffic moving in both directions improving overall travel relating to trade.

"At some point we will have better highways, better Loop 20, better Mines Road we are expanding Mines Road as we speak and there's more. We plan to have six lanes on Mines Road connected to the World Trade Bridge", said Mayor Saenz.

Laredo's International World Trade Bridge is the number one inland port along the U.S. Mexico border in the United States, handling close to 200 billion dollars worth of trade.Trade that travels all along Mines Road.

Mayor Saenz says renovations will only better the trade economy. "The efficiency of promoting the fluidity of trade through our bridges and roads into the industrial parks and beyond to 35 or even south highway 83 and also for the public and obviously the roads and highways are too full for business and also for regular vehicle trafficking", said Mayor Saenz.

In the meantime he's asking travelers to take caution while driving in construction zones- until all projects are complete. "So its worth the inconvenience at this point Laredo will be a better city down the road in the next few years or so", said Mayor Saenz.

The FM 1472 Mines Road project is expected to be complete by March 16th. TxDot says drivers should always observe safety signs and traffic control devices in work zones while looking out for construction workers and heavy equipment.