MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Elected officials from all over Hidalgo county met in McAllen Wednesday morning to sign documents meant to bolster international trade.

Anzalduas International Bridge will be expanding to allow for commercial cargo to cross the bridge in the near future.

Anzalduas International bridge first opened in 2009. Commercial trucks have not been allowed to cross into the United States on this bridge until now.

Anne Garcia, a representative from Senator John Cornyn’s office, said that expanding Anzalduas bridge to allow for commercial trucks to cross there is “ensuring the Rio Grande Valley and the state of Texas secure their role as the premiere international trade hub for the United States.”

In the past, commercial trucks have been diverted to the Pharr international bridge.

For Hidalgo County judge Richard Cortez, seeing the bridge expand to allow for commercial cargo to flow through is a dream 16 years in the making.

“It’s been a while,” Cortez said. The bridge began construction during Cortez’s tenure as mayor of McAllen in the late 2000s. This is very great news for the area, international trade is so important for us creating opportunities for our people.”

The expanded Anzalduas bridge will give more competition to the Pharr bridge, but county officials say the expansion will help draw more shipping traffic from Laredo.

“I think it’s going to make a major change in our area. Just to help all of the growth that is coming. We have to support the Pharr bridge, and now with our bridge also, we’re going to be working together,” said Tony Aguirre, a McAllen city commissioner.

The construction to expand the bridge will start soon and officials want commercial traffic to be flowing by 2023 in order to reap the rewards of increasing international shipping.

“Growth has been almost six-fold in the last 15-20 years. I imagine that not only will it continue at that level, but expand into the trillions of dollars within the next five to ten years,” said Eddie Cantu, an Hidalgo County commissioner.