LAREDO, Texas — A modernization and expansion project that cost $77.3 million was recently completed at the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge. The project was directed and managed by GSA in coordination with CBP management through various phases and done in a way without adversely impacting lawful trade and travel.
The Laredo Port of Entry’s ever growing influx of bus arrivals coupled with its close proximity and immediate access to Interstate Highway (IH) 35 gave rise for a need to improve on the facilities’ infrastructure that would adapt to current and future operational demands.
CBP has consistently seen an increase in commercial bus arrivals at the Port with over 110 bus companies transiting through the Laredo Port of Entry. On average, 125 buses arrive at the international bridge daily with approximately 5,600 passengers. Additionally, this modernization and expansion project will assist in the processing of over 900,000 I-94 travel permits that were issued for bus arrivals alone in 2018.
“The ever-growing volumes of commercial bus and passenger vehicle traffic had far exceeded the infrastructure limitations of the previous facility design,” said Director of Field Operations David P. Higgerson, Laredo Field Office. “We are excited to see these much needed enhancements to the Juarez-Lincoln Bridge that benefit the working environment for our employees and travelers.”
“The new facility is equipped with state of the art technology in x-ray systems and audio recording capabilities at all points where our CBP officers interact with the public,” said Port Director Albert Flores, Laredo Port of Entry.
"GSA is proud to play a role in supporting U.S. Customs and Border Protection's mission with the expansion and modernization of the Juarez-Lincoln Port of Entry," said GSA Public Buildings Service Regional Commissioner Giancarlo Brizzi. "The modernization significantly eases vehicular traffic and upgrades the functionality of the facility with the construction of a vehicle processing building with individual bus stalls, passenger inspection lanes, luggage inspection areas and a canopy for loading and unloading buses. We look forward to continuing to partner with agencies to deliver value and savings in real estate to the American taxpayer."
“The Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge is critical to our community and nation’s economic prosperity,” said Congressman Cuellar. “That is why, since 2014, I have been dedicated to funding the expansion and maintenance of this bridge. This expansion will grow our local economy, and greatly enhance trade and travel on the U.S.-Mexico border. The completion and opening of the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge is one of the most important infrastructure projects undertaken in Texas.”
“I would like to thank CBP Director of Field Operations for the Laredo Field Office David Higgerson, Laredo Port of Entry Port Director Albert Flores, City of Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz, General Services Administration (GSA) Regional Administrator Robert “Bobby” Babcock and Regional Commissioner Giancarlo Brizzi, and former GSA Regional Administrator Sylvia Hernandez for their hard work and dedication on this project.”
"This renovation project has been years in the making and will greatly improve operations for CBP and make the experience of traveling through our border more inviting. This is a beautiful facility, one that we are proud to showcase in Laredo as tourists step foot into America. I thank GSA for their diligence on this project and Congressman Henry Cuellar in making this facility a reality."
The project increased square footage and workspace to 48,000 sq. ft. and the vehicle inspection area to 13,000 sq. ft. giving CBP officers and agriculture specialists the capacity to inspect 24 or more vehicles in secondary. In the bus processing area, there are three bus parking spaces to off load passengers, seven bus parking spaces to up load passengers, eight bus passenger document examination stations, 4 stations for I-94 permit processing, and a second level office space for employees. The new facility also augmented non-intrusive imaging (NII) technology for bus, vehicle and luggage inspections.
The modernization of internal infrastructure has benefited operations significantly by providing a state of the art immigration-processing center. The new facility added more interview and processing rooms that contributed to an increased throughput of immigration cases and 1-94 travel permits. Additionally, the facility meets and provides an adequate and comfortable setting for detainees being processed for immigration benefits or violation of laws.
The completion of the modernization and expansion project of the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge is one of many other facility improvements that have occurred or are ongoing at the Laredo Port of Entry all-aiming to improve on services for travelers and increase the flow of legitimate travel and trade.