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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

First new rail bridge in 100 years opens between U.S., Mexico

The first new rail bridge between the United States and Mexico in more than 100 years opened for business late last week.

On Aug. 7, freight trains carrying carloads from the Mexican state of Tamaulipas and into Cameron County, Texas, crossed over the West Rail Bridge. The $120 million West Rail Project, which took 15 years to complete, includes the bridge and a six-mile rail line on the U.S. side of the border.

The infrastructure replaces an existing rail connection between Brownsville, Texas, and Matamoros, Mexico, according to a press release issued by Cameron County Judge Pete Sepulveda Jr.

The project prioritizes border security that includes vehicle and cargo inspection systems. It also was designed to improve safety, travel time and flow of trade between the two nations.

"Providing this new link to move goods and services more efficiently  is going to bring enormous advantages and opportunities to the consumer, the supplier and to markets throughout North America and the world," Sepulveda said.

Of the projects $120 million cost, about $75 million of infrastructure investment was made on Mexico's portion of the project.

The new structure will help to attract prospective business interests, especially in the energy sector, officials told the San Antonio Express-News.

"The expansion of the oil industry in Mexico will eventually move more oil through that particular crossing," said Juan Villa, program manager for the Mexico City office of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. "Moving oil across the border is problematic, and although some pipelines are being built, a lot of fuel will need to move by rail."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/10/2015