McAllen begins design process to upgrade Anzalduas Bridge

The Anzalduas Bridge

Commercial trucks have crisscrossed the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge by the hundreds of thousands each year, bringing the city roughly $13 million annually, and growing. No bridge in the Rio Grande Valley comes close. But the Anzalduas International Bridge is trying.

The bridge in Mission opened in 2009 and is overseen by the cities of McAllen, Mission and Granjeno, with McAllen employees providing the daily leadership. After years of passenger vehicle traffic, in 2016 the bridge was finally able to open for empty commercial trucks driving southbound into Mexico.

On Wednesday, the city is set to post an advertisement for engineering firms to submit qualifications for the design of a complete facelift of the U.S. side of the bridge. The city has budgeted $4 million for the design of the facilities which will be for lanes coming into the country as well as for those leading southbound.

There is currently no infrastructure in place for northbound truck traffic, which would entail significant security components that do not currently exist, and more. But any construction on new facilities to process northbound trucks would not be ready for years.

“That’s our estimate,” City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez said of the $4 million.

Engineering firms will have two weeks to submit so-called statements of qualifications, which will then be weighed by city staff before they make recommendations to city commissioners, who will ultimately select a firm to design the Anzalduas upgrades.

The upgrades could be a boon for the bridge and the land near the bridge. Distribution facilities fill the area around the bridge in Pharr, and a similar surge of facilities could be built near the Anzalduas bridge to accommodate the goods that could eventually cross from Mexico.

But the Anzalduas bridge has had mixed results in attracting trucks since it began accepting trucks in August 2016. There have been some significant jumps from one month to the next, but the volume has dipped this year. The empty commercial truck southbound traffic has been down every month this year, from January to August, compared to those same months the year before.