By Alicia Neaves
PRESIDIO/OJINAGA - Some changes could be on their way to the Presidio Ojinaga International Bridge.
"This is the only border crossing in the entire state of Texas that is currently owned by the State of Texas," James Beauchamp, President of MOTRAN Alliance, Inc., said.
The International Bridge Project of Presidio Ojinaga is moving along.
"This project has already been approved on the Mexican side by both the federal government there and they have already allocated the funding for it," Beauchamp said.
Beauchamp says the port of entry has seen a tremendous increase in personal crossings and they only expect traffic to increase over time. During the holidays, all four lanes are opened at the border. The problem, they say, they run into is that the bridge is only two lanes. One for each direction.
"We literally can't handle what's there today. Admittedly, it's not all the time out of the year but there's four or five times out of the year where there's just massive flows back and forth," Beauchamp said.
The new proposed changes include a brand new bridge specifically for southbound traffic right next to the existing one, which will be for northbound traffic.
There will also be a new inspection point on the U.S. side.
For commercial drivers who frequently cross the border to move oversized loads, traffic is shut down to get it across. The new bridge will be wider to alleviate that problem. For example, when transporting materials to and from the Midland International Air and Space Port.
"You have about 220 aeronautic firms located in Chihuahua that can be very helpful in that endeavor. But again, wings, airplane engines and things like that, you need a little bit wider birth than what we have today," Beauchamp said.
Possibly one of the best changes, economically, is the creation of jobs in Presidio.
"Knowing here's a pool of people who have very high unemployment but a great desire to work, they are great people to have as partners and you really want to have a strong, good connection so you can access and utilize those folks," Beauchamp said.