RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) – Congressman Henry Cuellar and the City of Roma hope to restore the Historic Roma-Miguel Aleman International Suspension Bridge.
Originally built in 1928, the Roma-Miguel Aleman International Suspension Bridge was put out of service in 1948.
Congressman Cuellar announced the $5 million federal earmark he secured for the restoration of the bridge. As he and community members say, most current analysis by engineers indicated that the bridge is expected to collapse before 2028 if not repaired.
“As we all know the Roma-Miguel Aleman International Suspension Bridge has not had any maintenance in over 40 years and is on the verge of collapsing.” Starr County Commissioner of Precinct 2 Raul Pena adds, “if the bridge collapses it could only contaminate our source of water and cause grave danger to our public and environment.”
Despite the years that have gone by since the bridge’s closure, Starr County Judge Eloy Vera said it is a community treasure and must be saved.
“There’s no other suspension bridge in the U.S. or Canada or Mexico. This is the only one so historically for us, it is invaluable,” said Vera.
However, Congressman Cuellar said this isn’t the first time the government has set aside money to restore the bridge.
“This is the second time we have come up with $5 million to do our share of the bridge. The last time the time ran out and Mexico didn’t come in,” said Congressman Cuellar.
If Mexico can’t provide their portion to repair the bridge, he suggests using outside help to assist Mexico.
“If we work with Nat (National) Bank, the bank will go ahead to finance the money that’s needed on the Mexico side and then with the tolls of people coming across that will be used to pay off the loan on the other side (Mexico),” said Congressman Cuellar.
Community leaders on both sides of the U.S. and Mexico are still in talks to complete the project. Roma’s city manager, Alejandro Barrera says restoring the bridge will make it easier for residents to travel to and from Mexico.
“We felt that on top of restoring and protecting the river from any type of collapse it would also create an extra motor transportation for people crossing into and from Mexico,” said Barrera.
To get the bridge back up in its former glory and for public use Cuellar said, “the two major pieces of work will be the floor and the anchors to make sure they are on solid ground.”
Barrera said he feels confident they can work with Mexico to get the remaining $5 million to help restore this historic bridge.