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20130925 TxDOT-opens-Bryan-rd AF  1904MISSION—Local leaders celebrated the expansion of the first mile of FM 396, also known as Bryan Road, at a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday at the corner of Bryan and Trinity Road.

“The opening of FM 396 will reduce congestion and save time for international travelers,” said Phil Wilson, Texas Department of Transportation executive director. “Enhancing the mobility of goods across national boundaries is mutually beneficial and offers great promise for creating jobs in the region of our state.”

When the entire project is complete, FM 396 will be a four-lane highway leading from the Anzalduas International Bridge with overpasses at FM 1016, Trinity Street, FM 494 and U.S. 83.

Texas exports more than $86 billion worth of products to Mexico and more than 463,000 jobs in Texas depend on trade with Mexico, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Wilson said the addition of the roadway would assist the Rio Grande Valley with its growth and would lower traffic delays when crossing the border at the Anzalduas International Bridge.

State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa highlighted the need to improve traffic flow, stating trade between Mexico and Texas totals more than a billion dollars a day.

Texas Transportation Commissioner Jeff Austin said more than one million people are living in the Rio Grande Valley and 1,000 newcomers move to Texas every day.

“This is going to be a regional roadway as it connects with I-69,” Austin said. “The population growth here has been tremendous. And will continue to bring connectivity to parts of the state that have not had interstate connectivity in the past.”

Also in attendance was State Rep. Sergio Muñoz Jr., who visited the Anzalduas International Bridge at the end of August to promote the passage of House Bill 474, which allows overweight trucks to proceed 25 miles into Hidalgo County without having to divide up their loads. This legislation is predicted to reduce the amount of the trucks on the road, which would save industries time, money and promote economic development between Mexico and Texas.

House Bill 474 went into effect on Sept. 1, 2013.

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