Laredo and TxDOT Enter Agreement for $11.7M Addition to World Trade International Bridge
Feature Photo (above): The World Trade International Bridge port of entry in Laredo. Image: Google Streets/Luis Espinosa Jr.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Laredo (Webb County)–City Council has authorized the execution of an Advanced Funding Agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for the relocation and construction of four inspection booths and other new facilities at the World Trade International Bridge.
The project includes construction of a non-intrusive inspection area, two exit control booths and access to the current secondary inspection facilities and hazardous material offsite containment facility.
The action taken City Council on Aug. 5 follows a June 17 decision to execute an agreement with the General Services Administration to finance the project through a Donation Acceptance Agreement. Prior to this action, the city of Laredo was petitioning the U.S.Customs and Border Protection for a FAST Lanes Relocation Project; CBP selected Laredo’s project proposal to engage in planning and development for such a project in April 2017.
That led to a Memorandum of Understanding last year with the Department of Homeland Security, CBP and the GSA. The FAST Lanes Relocation Project affects northbound inspection facilities for commercial vehicles.
The Donor Acceptance Agreement between Laredo and the federal agencies obligates Laredo to “design, construct and donate a roadway in support of processing inbound empty commercial vehicles due to an increase in traffic volume at the World Trade Bridge.”
The existing FAST lanes will be relocated to an all-new site within the federal compound.
“This will allow FAST trucks a nearly straight shot from the bridge into the new FAST inspection facility and onto the city streets and the Bob Bullock Loop (I-69W),” the staff summary to the Advance Funding Agreement states.
The agreement does not mention a project timeline.
Laredo is relying on TxDOT for project oversight. The Texas Transportation Commission passed an order for the completion of “a highway improvement generally described as Construction of Inspection Booths for Free and Secure Trade Lanes.” This is the project name.
TxDOT submitted is Advance Funding Agreement to the city of Laredo on July 1. It states that the local government (Laredo) is responsible for utilities, environmental assessment and mitigation, architectural and engineering services, construction, right of way and real property.
The total estimated cost is $11,777,307. Of that, about $10 million is for construction. TxDOT is responsible for securing any state and federal funding and for reimbursing the city for some portion of the total cost. Federal participation will be $8 million. Laredo will have to cover more than $3.1 million of the total.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.