NORTH American Class 1 Kansas City Southern (KCS) has broken ground on both sides of a new bridge spanning the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas, to Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, which will double the number of trains moving in and out of Mexico.

The bridge will be constructed alongside the existing bridge and is due to be completed by the end of 2024.

This new international bridge is being entirely funded by KCS. It will be built 10.6m from the existing bridge, allowing trains to operate in both directions at the same time.

The bridge will be 350m long. Construction crews will work at the same time on each side of the international border to complete the project.

The project also includes renovation of the existing US Department of Homeland Security/Customs and Border Protection building in Laredo and reconstruction of a KCS Operations Security Building in Nuevo Laredo.

The existing single-track bridge is the only rail crossing of the Rio Grande river between Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, and is an essential international link. The US Presidential Permit for construction of the new bridge was received in July 2020. Since 2020, KCS has been in the project engineering and design phase as various construction permits were obtained in the US and Mexico.

“Today marks the start of construction of a new railroad bridge to meet the needs of North American commerce in the future,” says KCS president and CEO, Mr Patrick J Ottensmeyer. “Upon completion, the second span of the International Bridge will keep Laredo - Nuevo Laredo at the centre of North American trade and make this vital United States - Mexico - Canada (USMCA) trade corridor safer, more fluid and secure, and relieve traffic congestion in Laredo and Nuevo Laredo.

“This significant private investment in infrastructure, along with the proposed combination of Canadian Pacific and KCS, pending regulatory approval, will connect customers on both sides of the border to new markets, enhance competition in the US rail network and drive economic growth across North America.”