Groundbreaking for Tex-Mex bridge project

Written by Mischa Wanek-Libman, Editor, Railway Track & Structures; and Engineering Editor, Railway Age

The Texas Department of Transportation and Texas Pacifico Transportation held a groundbreaking for the reconstruction of the international rail bridge at Presidio.

The rail bridge, which will be one of eight rail crossings between Mexico and the United States, was severely damaged by fires in 2008 and 2009. The bridge is located on the TxDOT-owned South Orient rail line, a 391-mile segment running from the Texas-Mexico border at Presidio through San Angelo to just south of Coleman.

Closely-heldTexas Pacifico Transportation (TXPF) leases and operates the South Orient line and is responsible for the reconstruction of the bridge. TXPF is funding the reconstruction of the bridge, which is scheduled to be completed by September 2019. Work on the Ojinaga, Mexico, side of the bridge has already begun.

“As one of the eight rail gateways between the United States and Mexico, this crossing is extremely important to the economy of Texas and the rest of the United States,” said Texas Transportation Commission Chairman, J. Bruce Bugg, Jr. “Today’s groundbreaking is a testament to what strong partnerships can accomplish in creating transportation solutions. This project will have positive impacts on both the regional and national levels in support of our energy sector and local communities.”

TxDOT has also received a $7 million federal FASTLANE grant to rehabilitate 72 miles of track and additional bridges in Presidio County. TXDOT said this additional work will improve safety and train operations in support of the reconstruction of the Presidio Ojinaga International Rail Bridge.

“Cross-border trade is the lifeblood of many communities in my district, including Presidio. Restoring this crucial freight connection will create jobs, reduce arduous border wait times, and facilitate the flow of goods and services through the region. As one of five border crossings between Texas and Mexico, and one of only eight in the nation, these repairs are vital to Texas’ economy,” said U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX-23), who represents more than 800 miles of the Texas-Mexico border.

TxDOT expects to bid the track and other bridge work in the spring of 2019.

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