Border station construction behind

HARLINGEN – Construction on the new Border Safety Inspection Facility at the Los Indios international crossing continues to lag behind schedule.

State transportation officials briefed the Harlingen-San Benito Metro Planning Organization yesterday about the $7 million project, which began in February 2015 and was projected to have been finished two months ago. Instead, construction is only two-thirds complete and already has run past its completion date.

“There’s a large pond to contain water and a lot of time those fences are going around the large ponds, there’s a large one and a small one, and then after that we have some erosion control,” said Sergio Sustaita, project manager for TxDOT. “Those (erosion control) blankets go pretty much along the sides to the middle of the pond.”

Sustaita said those have been installed, and that crews also are performing a lot of significant electrical work.

Rick Cavazos, mayor of Los Indios, voiced what he said were the concerns of his community about how the truck traffic at the border crossing would be routed from the inspection station north.

“Is the traffic is going to be routed on GSA Road to 509 or is it going to go straight up Joaquin Cavazos (Memorial Drive) to 281?” Cavazos asked. “Right now the only thing designated, you just have an arrow telling you to go straight to 509.”

Cavazos said he was concerned about safety in the area.

“There’s a warehouse district there, there’s pedestrians crossing the road, they have their own commercial traffic in and out of there,” he said. “So the concern was – we don’t know how busy that inspection facility’s going to be, hopefully very – so it seems to me that the easiest way to exit the facility is to go west on GSA Road and turn on 509 to go north rather than go up Joaquin Cavazos to 281 then take a left and then 509 north.

“What’s the mechanism to actually make sure that is what happens?” he said

TxDOT officials acknowledged it could present difficulties, but Espinoza said the state can’t just install a sign.

“We’ve got to be careful where we route this traffic,” he said. “Right now, we’re still working as far as getting that special sign,” Espinoza added.

In an interview, Cavazos said that since it is unclear how much truck traffic would be using the facility, it was important to answer some of these traffic questions now.

The Los Indios bridge project consists of construction of the border safety inspection facility, drainage structures and paving.