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This week, the city of Mission held a meeting focusing on the current state of the much-discussed Madero Bridge Project.
The meeting included a proposed schedule of events for the construction of the project, which has been in contention because the presidential permit to build a rail bridge in Mission is set to expire in 2021. After several workshops and meetings, the city council entered into an interlocal agreement with the Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority (HCRMA), and hired Rigo Villarreal to act as a consultant to extend the permit, which was first issued in 1978.
During the meeting, Mayor Armando O’caña presented the proposed construction schedule. He began with an overview of the project description for the Mission Madero-Reynosa International Bridge.
“Basically it’s going to have a pedestrian, vehicular and rail toll international bridge,” O’caña said. “[It] is a five-lane crossing of the Rio Grande River connecting the city of Mission with Reynosa, Mexico.”
Two lanes will run north, and two will run south, with one emergency lane for both sides. O’caña said the bridge will have full inspection centers on both sides, six primary in-bound inspection lanes and two primary outbound inspection lanes as well as a rail inspection lane.
“When completed, the crossing will be the largest bridge in the Rio Grande Valley,” O’caña said. “The bridge will also feature nearly 12 feet-wide pedestrian and cycling paths.”
The project will include the construction of new ports of entry, rail facilities and the new U.S. Port of Entry will be developed on a 100-acre site, and is anticipated to be the largest border facilities in the RGV.
“In order to accommodate the new veins to the port of entries, modifications will be required along nearly three miles of Interstate-2 connecting to Los Ebanos Road with the need to complete the Military Inspiration Parkway, which is already in the process,” O’caña said. “That will include a dozen roadways, minor improvement, rail right-of-way, acquisitions and pedestrian bridges ranging from 100- to as-needed feet.”
O’caña said the Madero Bridge is expected to be the largest vehicular and rail-land border crossing between Brownsville, and called it vital to the economy of Texas and the United States, and is a gateway to the world. He added it is to be constructed starting 2025, and will be developed at the head by the city of Mission as well as other partners to be announced and determined.
“It is structured like a private company, and operates independently from the government,” O’caña said. “The city of Mission is responsible for the delivery of the bridge, as well as for the construction oversight and the operation of the new crossings.”
The Madero Bridge Project is estimated to cost $133 million. O’caña broke down the five phases of the project, which will include the project conceptualization and initiation (which is currently underway and is set to be complete by 2022), project definition and planning (2022-2024), project launch and execution (2024-2025), project performance and control (2025-2027) and project closure (2027-2027).
City Manager Randy Perez presented an overview of the project as well, including details on the HCRMA’s update on the environmental and traffic studies, and Jose M. Garza’s handling of the railroad. Perez stressed that the rail component is important because a rail crossing from Brownsville to Laredo does not currently exist.
Perez also included three different rail routes proposed, connecting north to Alice or north to Hebbronville. Eric Davila and Ramon Navarro from the HCRMA were present via Zoom to discuss any questions or clarifications from the council, as well as the three options for routes and what they have handled so far.
“At this point [the interlocal agreement] covers essentially the management of the right-of-way, which pertains to doing the planning-level work, which is environmental and traffic studies needed to compliment,” Davila said. “[We’re taking] the feasibility study that was done to the environmental base.”
Davila said the potential routes have to do with how the environmental studies play out and how the presidential permit extension plays out in terms of approval. Mission Purchasing Director Eduardo Belmarez presented an update on the foreign-side bridge relations.
“We are working toward gathering all the documents and data to be able to prepare for the renewal of the presidential permit,” Belmarez said, noting they had been in contact with one of the largest Mexican infrastructure developers, Marhnos. “We also met with Diputado Javier Garza Faz from the state of Tamaulipas who assured us that he would support the project in conjunction with also following up on the work that had been done in regards to possible Mission Madero Bridge design work on the Reynosa side.”
Belmarez spoke about virtual meetings and conference calls in which Mexican state government officials stated they were open to hearing more presentations to introduce the project and preliminary design components further to them.
Following the executive session, council reconvened and took no action on an economic strategic plan for the project. They set a date and time for an additional executive session for July 13, 2020 at 5:30 p.m.
During the meeting city council also approved a request by the Sharyland Independent School District to run a 60-second firework display during their graduation ceremonies, which are being held next week. On June 11, 12 and 13 SISD will be including the fireworks during the commencements, with fire safety assistance from the city of Mission Fire Department.