Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
Mexico- U.S. trade increased in the 1980s and with it the traffic on the downtown Laredo Juarez-Lincoln Bridge. By the end of this decade, Texas, the City of Laredo, Mexico, the City of Nuevo Laredo and others were discussing how to accommodate this situation.
In 1991, detailed coordination resulted in announcing the initiation of a formal environmental study for a new bridge. This bridge would be outside the central business district and would carry commercial vehicles allowing the downtown bridge to concentrate on passenger vehicles and pedestrians. At the same time Texas DOT initiated parallel coordinated studies for improvements to highways, ramps and other facilities that would serve the crossing but have independent utility.
By 1993, projects were placed on the State multi year transportation improvement program and in 1995 a comprehensive funding agreement had been reached. The total cost of the new bridge and related improvements was about $100 million. The biological survey was completed in 1996. the historical survey in 1997 and a final public hearing in January 1998. By this time, the traffic backups on the existing bridge had frequently reached 4 miles and the general public was eager for the improvement to be initiated. Later that year the environmental documentation was approved and construction began before the year was over.
The new bridge was opened April 15, 2000 and the downtown back ups disappeared and truck traffic was successfully diverted to the new bridge.