Work in Progress at Pharr International Bridge
Projects at the Bridge
For two years within the program that the United States called the ‘560’ and which now is the ‘559;’ entities such as the city of Pharr, TX., either owners or owners of the bridges can invest money in projects in federal areas - in this case in the import batch. The city of Pharr, TX. applied a year and a half ago requesting two projects, which have already been approved.
What does it consist of?
The first project is the one that to date presents more progress; this is the connectivity of the Texas Department of Inspection area known as the Border Safety Inspection Facility (BSIF,) which has a year and a half of being built. The only port that has it to date is the Nuevo Laredo Bridge; Pharr in this case would be the second, only they do not have the port connectivity of the inspection area. In this process the city of Pharr is already involved with the USDA, Tax Dot and CBP.
To have such connectivity the city of Pharr is anticipating an investment of 1.5 million dollars to fulfill that connectivity, and at the same time separate the empty trucks coming from Mexico to the United States that are about 800 per day. “By doing this we can have more fluidity inside the port, faster in the entrance and exit to it. This project was already delivered more than 4 months ago, we are only waiting for the Washington approval to be able to follow up with the construction of the first phase, hoping that it will be towards the end of 2017.
More lanes, greater fluidity at crosses
These projects have to do with the extension of both entry and exit lanes. As a reference, Fred Browen, operations director of the Pharr International Bridge commented that since the start of operations of this crossing in 1994 there were only 2 exits; with the implementation of these projects there could be two additional outputs; a total of 8 entries and 4 exits. Additional departures and tickets will be for the exclusive use of certified companies to move traffic coming from Mexico to the United States.
Another 3 projects will focus on expanding the ‘inspection bay’ in the intensive area; there would be about 30 inspection areas for 16 of them for cold rooms of perishable products, in addition is expected the construction of a laboratory for products coming from Mexico. “To have that ability to train U.S. entomologists, USDA, FDA so that cargo coming from Mexico can move more swiftly into the port,” said Fred Browen, director of operations at the Pharr International Bridge.
Capacity in crosses
Currently, between 2,300 and 2,500 trucks daily cross the United States to Mexico, this represents approximately a capacity of 65 %; with the projects to be implemented in the port, capacity will increase to 80%.
“This is like building another bridge to have greater capacity and better fluidity on the surface and within U.S. Customs,” said Fred Browen.