McALLEN — Empty southbound commercial trucks began crossing the Anzalduas International Bridge much earlier than usual on Monday, inching their way into what the city hopes will soon become a fully functional commercial port of entry.
Instead of waiting until 3 p.m. to cross into Mexico, truck drivers began heading back as early as 10 a.m. All due in part to a collaboration between officials on both sides of the border to extend hours of operation.
The McAllen Bridge System announced last week that beginning Monday, the bridge would be operational for empty southbound commercial trucks from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, extending the window of operation by four hours compared to its previous 3 to 10 p.m. schedule.
“I personally would like to extend an invitation to commercial truck drivers traveling south to cross through the Anzalduas International Bridge because we can get you through faster,” McAllen Superintendent of Bridges Juan Olaguibel said in a news release last week.
The bridge began receiving southbound empty commercial vehicles in August 2016 after petitioning both the U.S. and Mexico’s federal government, and this new push brings it closer to its goal of becoming a fully functional commercial bridge.
“The expanded hours of operation for southbound empty commercial trucks is just the next step for the bridge to become a fully functioning commercial crossing, boosting the economy on both sides and further strengthening the bond between McAllen and Reynosa, Texas and Tamaulipas and the United States and Mexico as great trade partners,” McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said in the release.
McAllen bridge officials asked Mexican Customs to expand the timeframe in order to meet the growing demand for passage. The additional hours are intended to decongest and facilitate traffic on a bridge that was strategically designed to serve as a connection between the industrial parks in Reynosa and the U.S.
“Anzalduas International Bridge is a regional economic engine powered by international trade and fueled by the collaboration with our partners in Mexico,” McAllen City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez said. “Thanks to the partnership with Mexican Customs, the extended hours at Anzalduas International Bridge solidifies a stronger economy in the Rio Grande Valley.”