PRESIDIO, Texas – The international rail bridge opening between Presidio and Ojinaga has been pushed from December 2024 to summer 2025.
The international rail bridge opening between Presidio and Ojinaga has been pushed from December 2024 to summer 2025, according to The Big Bend Sentinel. Back in 2008, a fire destroyed the bridge, and the current project will “allow commercial rail service between Presidio and Ojinaga for the first time” since the fire occurred. Ten years after the fire, construction finally began in 2018, and during that time, flooding had changed the landscape, “requiring major engineering intervention.” This redesign requires the collaborative efforts of Texas Pacifico Railroad, HDR Engineering, International Boundary and Water Commission, Customs and Border Protection, as well as the City of Presidio and Presidio County.
According to the report, the delay comes to issues securing “an X-ray machine for the future Customs and Border Protection inspection station at the bridge.” The unit is referred to as an “NII” machine, which stands for ‘non-invasive inspection’ and “aims to intercept illegal activity without impeding the flow of trade.” Now, TxDOT will work on crossing improvements, and these are slated to begin in the first half of 2024, according to Adam Hammons, a spokesperson for TxDOT.
Before the fire in 2008, the bridge was a century old, and “modern rail operations were assumed by Ferromex, a rail company owned in part by mining and logistics corporation Grúpo México,” and Union Pacific. On the Mexican side of the border, Ferromex oversees rail operations, and Texas Pacifico oversees operations on the U.S. side. The rail bridge is the “only international rail bridge owned by” TxDOT. In May of 2021, Texas Pacifico completed work on the bridge, replacing the wood with a “modernized steel structure.” Then, in October of 2021, $15.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds were approved to complete the project.