International bridges see fewer cars cross south into Mexico

The flow of cars southbound across Rio Grande Valley international bridges continues to decrease, with officials citing violence in bordering Tamaulipas as the cause.

Southbound car traffic into Mexico began declining last October and has continued that downward trend in following months. The U.S. State Department warned Americans to not travel to Tamaulipas, and four other Mexican states, in January. That “do not travel” warning is the same advisory the department has issued for war-torn Syria.

The Anzalduas and Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridges saw the largest slide in the first month of the year. Comparing January 2017 to January 2018, the Anzalduas Bridge saw a 17,033 (21 percent) southbound car traffic drop-off while Hidalgo had a 13,681 (6 percent) dip.

Comparing southbound car traffic during the same time, the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge had a 10,640 (15 percent) decline; the Progreso-Nuevo Progreso International Bridge had a 865 drop (2 percent); and the three Brownsville bridges combined decreased by 4,152 (2 percent).

Pharr and McAllen bridge leaders cited violence as the top reason for the downward trend.

While most bridges saw a southbound car decline, one bridge bucked that trend in January. The Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge saw an 864 (2 percent) increase in southbound car traffic comparing January 2017 to January 2018, the only bridge in the area with a spike.

But while car crossings have dipped, truck crossings have had an uptick.

Comparing southbound truck crossings from January 2017 to January 2018, Pharr saw a 4,284 increase (9 percent), Anzalduas, which only serves empty trucks, saw a 492 increase (44 percent), the Veterans Bridge in Brownsville saw a 1,142 (6 percent) increase and the Free Trade Bridge in Brownsville saw a 274 (27 percent).

Progreso, with 583, a 13 percent decrease, was the only bridge that saw fewer southbound trucks. Pharr also saw 4,357 more trucks cross northbound.