BY STEVE CLARK STAFF WRITER | Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2018 9:45 pm
East Loop Progress
A security officer stops a vehicle at the Port of Brownsville’s Foust Road enterance on Wednesday, January 10, 2018, in Brownsville, Texas. The Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority is looking to improve couty infrastructure, progressing towards the construction of SH32 which will divert traffic away from an already congested International Boulevard. (Jason Hoekema/The Brownsville Herald)
The Texas Department of Transportation has granted the Port of Brownsville $1.5 million toward construction of the South Port Connector Project, the first phase of the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority’s East Loop Corridor plan.
The port connector and overall loop system will create access to the port for overweight trucks per legislation passed by the Texas Legislature in 2009, said CCRMA Executive Director Pete Sepulveda Jr. Roads built to overweight standards can be used by trucks with loads up to 120,000 pounds, compared to 74,000 pounds for conventional roads, he said.
The connector will provide access to the south side of the port, which reports an increase in truck traffic in recent years. Among the industries that will benefit is SpaceX, which plans to transport its Big Falcon Rocket to Boca Chica beach, Sepulveda said. The BFR, still under development, is too large for land transport and will have to be brought in by water.
“We’re not doing it specifically for them, but they’re going to be in a great position to take advantage of the opportunity,” Sepulveda said.
He said the $1.5 million from TxDOT should close the funding gap on the $20 million port connector project, which is still in the design phase.
“We’re also concurrently doing the environmental phase, but we believe that by the first quarter of 2019 we can get this under construction,” Sepulveda said. “You know the community has been waiting for many, many years for this project.”
When completed, the port connector will span two miles, linking Ostos Road at the port with S.H. 4. (Translated, this road is designed to haul the Big Falcon Rocket for SpaceX from the Port of Brownsville to the launch site on State Hwy 4.)
CCRMA Chairman Frank Parker Jr. said CCRMA is “glad to be a partner with Cameron County and the Port of Brownsville on this very important infrastructure project.”
Brownsville Navigation District Chairman John Reed said infrastructure projects like the port connector “facilitate our efforts in strengthening the port’s position as the main hub for domestic and international trade in South Texas.”
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