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Gateway to the Americas International Bridge hours and access have been extended

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 10:52 AM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - The Gateway to the Americas International Bridge is a four-lane bridge with two pedestrian walkways that include an area for cyclists.

However, traffic has been limited at the port of entry since the pandemic.

U.S. Customs & Border Protection tells us big changes are coming to the Gateway to the America Bridges --hours and access have been extended.

For the first time ever, the Secure Electronic Network for Travelers’ Rapid Inspection, known as SENTRI, will now see a constant flow of traffic.

Driver Antonio Ibarra tells us, “Well, I’ve been able to cross because I work in import and export business. So, I usually come over and then return on bridge number three.”

Another traveler, Martha Perez, says,”Thank God, I’m very happy because it will be easier to cross.”

These drivers are pleased to see the latest changes at the Bridge of the Americas.

“CBP met with the City of Laredo and the government of Mexico to discuss measures how they’re going to facilitate the movement of traffic and of the measure was to open the SENTRI Lane on a 24 hour basis,” Rick Pauza with the CBP offices of public affairs told us.

Officials say congestion going northbound on International Bridge One inspired the revisions.

“We also decided to open the southbound lanes for both SENTRI and non-SENTRI traffic beginning at 8 o’clock on Monday.”

Southbound traffic has been limited especially since the pandemic, and with this reopening, it should help facilitate traffic especially with the holidays approaching.

“Of course, all the traffic still has to follow the essential non-essential travel restrictions that are still in place,” Pauza reminded.

As changes are taking place in our daily lives, adjustments are slowly being made along the border.

“With the beginning of the school year, you have more people crossing the border. Those people that are taking their kids to private school on the U.S. side, so definitely, we’ll see an increase. Also, during the holiday times, along weekends-Labor day weekend, we do experience an increase in traffic,” Pauza told us.

He tells us it will still take a week or so to see if the government plans to extend the travel restrictions currently in place at the rest of the international bridges.

If you’re a driver interested in becoming a part of the SENTRI, or the trusted traveler program, you can head over to cbp.gov and fill out an application.

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