TxDOT nixes inspection facility at Laredo bridge

| Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Texas public safety officials say they won't build a separate temporary inspection facility at Laredo's World Trade Bridge because of opposition from the city of Laredo, the Express-News Border Bureau reports.

The Texas Department of Public Safety will still inspect trucks as they enter the United States at the World Trade Bridge, but it scrapped plans to build the separate facility there after the city filed a lawsuit in September contesting the proposed site.

Like the other inspection stations between Brownsville and El Paso, it was to be a temporary facility that could do the job for a few years until permanent stations were built.

More stringent safety inspections are mandated for long-haul trucks, but because they will be done at border crossings, they also will apply to the short-haul transfer truck traffic that has operated for years without such scrutiny within a 20-mile commercial zone on both sides of the border.

That will needlessly snarl traffic already slowed by homeland security measures at the bridge, city officials say.

The transfer trucks make up the bulk of the 4,000 daily truck crossings at the World Trade Bridge, and Laredo officials argue the state safety inspections should be on the highway north of the city, where the long-haul trucks can be isolated.

Laredo Mayor Betty Flores wants the inspection station to be built alongside a new Immigration and Naturalization Service checkpoint planned for a site 25 miles north of Laredo on I-35.

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