Two bridges that annually serve more than 3.6 million cars and upwards of 300,000 trucks crossing the Rio Grande from and to El Paso are going to see advanced technology improvements solely designed to speed up cargo traffic.
Members of the Texas State Legislature have approved $32 million in funding, as part of a larger $214 billion fiscal year budget, to implement what is being called “intelligent transportation system” improvements to the two big structures.
Built in 1938 the Zaragoza Bridge is actually made up of two bridges, both with four lanes; while the Bridge for the Americas, completed in the summer of 1998, has two two-lane bridges, and two four-lane bridges.
According to City of El Paso officials, the wait time for commercial vehicles using both bridges has increased in recent years, prompting the need for a plan that could see the implementation of modern technology designed to both better facilitate cargo traffic as well as improve security measures.
Details regarding exactly how the infrastructure of the bridges may be altered in order to implement the intelligent transportation system are still to emerge.
El Paso officials say it will take a year of planning to decide what improvements to the two bridges are most needed, and perhaps up to 24 months for any actual construction work.
By Garry Boulard
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