June 14–The price of expanding commercial and passenger lanes at the Veterans International Bridge at Los Tomates has come in more than $300,000 above the estimated cost.
The Cameron County Commissioners Court on Tuesday recommended accepting a bid of $858,836 for the project, pending further negotiation, which county and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have lauded as a project that will set the bar for future ports-of-entry and increase the amount of commercial trucking and vehicular traffic entering the county from Mexico.
Officials announced the Veterans International Bridge FAST Lane expansion in February, and it would widen the commercial truck lanes at the bridge so CBP can test two experimental X-ray devices called VACIS cargo inspection systems, which use normal levels of radiation for the cab of a commercial trailer but increase to a more intense radiation after sensing the break between the cab and the trailer.
The idea is that if CBP inspectors can acquire a better look at what is inside commercial trucks entering the U.S. at the port of entry, that will in turn reduce the amount of secondary inspections and increase trade traffic through the bridge, benefiting not only Cameron County but also the logistics and transportation companies that cross the border with goods on a daily basis. The project’s scope also includes doubling the number of passenger vehicle lanes from four to eight.
The Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority, which has had to bid the project twice, is in charge of the bidding process, and the Cameron County Commissioners Court has agreed to fund the project.
A more complete version of this story is available on www.myBrownsvilleHerald.com
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