Flor de Mayo International Bridge in Brownsville approved for construction

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Cameron County received a Presidential Permit on Monday, June 3, 2024, to build the Flor de Mayo International Bridge. (Courtesy: Cameron County)

Cameron County has received permission from the Biden administration to build, maintain and operate a new vehicular and pedestrian crossing at the U.S.-Mexico border in Brownsville.

The county submitted a Presidential Permit application for the proposed Flor de Mayo International Bridge in September 2021. Following a review of the application and “determination of completeness” in February by the U.S. Secretary of State, the permit was officially granted on May 31. It expires five years from that date if construction has not started by then.

The new bridge is to be located approximately eight river miles from the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge, and more than 35 river miles from the Free Trade Bridge at Los Indios. The four-lane bridge — for passenger vehicles and pedestrians only — will link the United States and Mexico at West Alton Gloor Boulevard in Brownsville and Flor de Mayo Avenue in Matamoros.

With an estimated price tag of $30 million, the bridge project is expected to complement north-side retail development accessible from Alton Gloor, including strip malls and big-box retailers, the county said in a statement.

“On the Matamoros side, the bridge will directly link to a significant industrial park, providing new access for factory workers who wish to shop or visit family in the Valley,” the county said.

County officials and the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority had been working with legislators over the last decade to make the Flor de Mayo bridge a reality. Federal legislation signed into law by Biden in December sped up the process of obtaining the Presidential Permit once the environmental reviews were completed, according to the county, which said the new bridge will be a big step toward enhancing border infrastructure, supporting economic growth and strengthening the U.S. relationship with Mexico.

County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. called the announcement “great news,” noting that the new bridge will facilitate safe, efficient travel and commerce between the two countries.

“This momentous announcement is the culmination of years of dedicated advocacy,” he said. “The construction of this international bridge will not only boost the region’s economy and create local job opportunities, but also facilitate our area’s international travel and contribute to a safer and more secure border.”

He thanked U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, and U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez for their “unwavering commitment and tireless efforts” in navigating the permitting process.

Gonzalez put out a statement Tuesday calling the bridge authorization a major milestone for the county and the entire Rio Grande Valley, and one he’s consistently advocated for.

“Our bridges serve as vital conduits for international trade, commerce and tourism,” he said. “The approval of this project comes after a productive conversation I had with President Biden on Air Force One during his historic visit to Brownsville … in late February.”

Gonzalez added that the Flor de Mayo bridge us a “testament to years of hard work and collaboration between federal and local government.”