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I've just heard that there is "Major Construction" at both downtown Laredo crossing bridges.... Bridges I and II.

Can anyone confirm (or refute) that this is a fact and how it might or might not be affecting crossing time-frames?

 

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Yes,

All of the crossing was under construction when we drove down at the end of August.  We crossed at Bridge #2, and being unfamiliar with the border, we just followed the narrow dirt construction road which led us to Customs, but not Immigration.  We were checked out by Customs, and paid the 16% tax they wanted on a 27" Apple computer, but they did not check anything else, and there was no route going to Immigration, just a narrow dirt road into Nuevo Laredo.  SO BEWARE....it's a mess, and you do need to go through Immigration to have your Passport stamped, but the roads are bad, and they have no indication as to how to get from Customs to Immigration.  Fortunately, we have a good Immigration attorney here in Ajijic who helped us with the missing documention that we did not get at the border.  The crossing did not take us very long, but then we only went through Customs, and not the full deal....and we were headed South, not North.  I would just prepare for a longer crossing with not much communication between Customs and Immigration.

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I came through in September. I got inspected,and they didn't even open the cartop carrier, no problems there at all. I noticed the folks next to me had clothing with tags still on. The inspecting agent was piling those on the table. Best not to have things that look shiny and new with tags. Once I passed through that there were a few guys hanging out and asked if needed permits (TIP) and visa which I did. So he said "follow me because it is hard to find Immigration". I thought it was kind of sketchy, but I went with it, followed him in his car through several neighborhoods. It wasn't far, but because of so much construction, completely convoluted. I tried giving him like 30 pesos but he said it was 100. I thought it was well worth it actually. He was polite and spoke good English. Once I got through that process, I found the route taking the cuota, not libre, was full of construction here and there, long backups and terrible mountain passes. I did not enjoy the route at all, but used it only for return trips should I need them. I only need to return to Laredo one time now, because I was fortunate to find a job and will get a work visa. But in case I didn't get so lucky to obtain a job with visa representation, may have had to do the every 6 months border shuffle. 

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WE came NOB the middle of September, and everything looked normal to me. Turned in TIP and Tourist paper. No problems. But, again, my wife says that I often have "tunnel" vision, so maybe I missed something? Just a long wait on the US side (new female agent, and she was practicing writing up people for an inspection stop). Wait time, no problems.

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".... and terrible mountain passes "

Could you share with us just where this might have been?  I've driven that road many times and just don't remember such.... maybe going south out of Saltillo climbing up onto the plateau?

 

Otherwise, thanks to the both of you for your input. Hopefully it will be completed before the Christmas holiday rush.   

Any more comments are welcomed.

 

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11 hours ago, FritzLeona said:

Yes,

All of the crossing was under construction when we drove down at the end of August.  We crossed at Bridge #2, and being unfamiliar with the border, we just followed the narrow dirt construction road which led us to Customs, but not Immigration.  We were checked out by Customs, and paid the 16% tax they wanted on a 27" Apple computer, but they did not check anything else, and there was no route going to Immigration, just a narrow dirt road into Nuevo Laredo.  SO BEWARE....it's a mess, and you do need to go through Immigration to have your Passport stamped, but the roads are bad, and they have no indication as to how to get from Customs to Immigration.  Fortunately, we have a good Immigration attorney here in Ajijic who helped us with the missing documention that we did not get at the border.  The crossing did not take us very long, but then we only went through Customs, and not the full deal....and we were headed South, not North.  I would just prepare for a longer crossing with not much communication between Customs and Immigration.

Good to know ahead of time about construction.Now-- I do have a question about crossing at Laredo .We have the necessary paper work for out tip but do not want to send it ahead of time because we might buy a new or newer van before we leave.Will that help with getting the TIP and getting threw customs  and immigration?

Also is there a better way to get to Lake Chapala area instead of Laredo.Possibility a truck route that should be just as safe.

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This past May we crossed at Columbia Bridge. No wait. No hassles. Opens at 8am. The route south thru Matehuala and SLP is 95% Quota and easy. A GPS is helpful.

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The mountain pass might be the one just south of Monterrey? Wouldn't call it terrible, at least it wasn't in May.

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2 hours ago, KEN said:

Good to know ahead of time about construction.Now-- I do have a question about crossing at Laredo .We have the necessary paper work for out tip but do not want to send it ahead of time because we might buy a new or newer van before we leave.Will that help with getting the TIP and getting threw customs  and immigration?

Also is there a better way to get to Lake Chapala area instead of Laredo.Possibility a truck route that should be just as safe.

Truck routes are the free roads called "libre".  Do NOT take these roads, only take the cuota.

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I would stick to the toll roads, not the trucking roads.  I would use Laredo as it is the closest crossing to Lakeside, and is the fastest to get to with the toll roads.  I would present the TIP and tourist papers at the border....never send anything ahead...it will be lost.  Never turn over any documentation that they will not return to you without knowing why.  Consulting a Mexican Immigration lawyer is always worth the pesos, as they will tell you what to do, what not to do, and what to expect.

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9 minutes ago, FritzLeona said:

I would stick to the toll roads, not the trucking roads.  I would use Laredo as it is the closest crossing to Lakeside, and is the fastest to get to with the toll roads.  I would present the TIP and tourist papers at the border....never send anything ahead...it will be lost.  Never turn over any documentation that they will not return to you without knowing why.  Consulting a Mexican Immigration lawyer is always worth the pesos, as they will tell you what to do, what not to do, and what to expect.

Actually McAllen is closer.

Bing maps indicate that from Chapala to Laredo Tx is 1123 kms while to McAllen Tx is 1080 kms.

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And the tolls are considerably less.  Headed that way Sunday.  Unfortunately, I'm a couple of months too early for the opening of the new San Luis Potosi west side bypass which will be a real time and aggravation saver.

Still, I make the bridge at Pharr in 10.5 hours on a Sunday.

 

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18 minutes ago, canmex87 said:

Actually McAllen is closer.

Bing maps indicate that from Chapala to Laredo Tx is 1123 kms while to McAllen Tx is 1080 kms.

McAllen may be slightly closer, but we stick with Laredo as it is the major crossing point from the US into Mexico.  I have never crossed at McAllen....have you?  Let us know what your experience was so it can be compared to Laredo...thanks!

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13 minutes ago, FritzLeona said:

McAllen may be slightly closer, but we stick with Laredo as it is the major crossing point from the US into Mexico.  I have never crossed at McAllen....have you?  Let us know what your experience was so it can be compared to Laredo...thanks!

We prefer crossing at McAllen. There are three crossings in the immediate area.

McAllen is a clean city with great shopping, good restaurants and lodging.

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" Actually McAllen is closer. "

Well, actually that's a little misleading. Yes, McAllen is closer but it is also about 100 miles 'farther south' in Texas than is Laredo. If the border, say for shopping, is one's destination then yes, but getting to a destination farther north, not so. In the end, it depends on where one is actually traveling. If to San Antonio, then going by Laredo is 50 miles and an hour closer/quicker than going through McAllen (via Ciadad Victorio). If going to Houston, it's the same distance either way but 15 minutes quicker to go through Laredo..... all things else being equal. Things that may not be equal is the time it takes to actually cross the border and get through US Customs in Laredo....where McAllen on any given day is quicker.

 

 

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" Also is there a better way to get to Lake Chapala area instead of Laredo.Possibility a truck route that should be just as safe. "

Well, the aforementioned Colombia crossing just west of Laredo is used by a lot of folks. Just be aware that it is not open 24/7.

And, where to cross is also impacted by just where one is coming from or going. If from San Antonio/Austin and east, then the thre that have been described are about it. But if coming from west of San Antonio then yes there are two alternatives.... Eagle Pass and Del Rio Texas and their respective Piedras Negras and Ciadad Acuna sister towns. Both of these feed a route south using Mx highway 57 and eventually end up 'around' Saltillo. Once around Saltillo one has two choices to get to Chapala.... continuing down 57 towards San Luis Potosi or using Highway 54 down to the vicinity of Zacatecas and Aguascaliente. The 54 route is good road and basically toll free. Since I generally am coming/going from a more western area, I use Piedras Negras a lot and find it a very good route with 'no' tolls and good highways. The Immigration/TIP office is just south of there around Allende.... serving both Ciadad Acuana and Piedras Negras... and there are generally very few people there. Coming north I can cancel my TIP and turn in my Tourist card in about 10-15 minutes total. The border crossing into the US may take 20 minutes on a non-holiday timeframe.

 

 

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Back to the original Post question.... a person answered this question on another Forum saying, " at Laredo Bridge 1 will be closed from Mexico to USA for 12-18 months; it is still open from USA to Mexico. Bridge 2 is open both ways but a great deal of traffic from Mexico to USA because of Bridge 1 being closed in that direction. During the Christmas holidays , it will be very bad both ways.

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10 hours ago, FritzLeona said:

McAllen may be slightly closer, but we stick with Laredo as it is the major crossing point from the US into Mexico.  I have never crossed at McAllen....have you?  Let us know what your experience was so it can be compared to Laredo...thanks!

We don't cross at McAllen, we cross at Pharr, a few miles downstream.  The road bypasses Reynosa completely for a small toll.  Much better selection of hotels at better prices in McAllen and it is not an unduly hard drive for one day.  Customs is much more tolerant there probably because relatively few people cross there.

 

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I would like more information about crossing at either Pharr or Mc Allen .Especially from people that have gone across that way.

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17 minutes ago, KEN said:

I would like more information about crossing at either Pharr or Mc Allen .Especially from people that have gone across that way.

Also about safety on the roads .and yes talking ab out Bandits or cartel  getting stopped. Possible road blocks.

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If you live in fear......you have been reading too much into sensationalist blogs.

I also suggest crossing at Pharr.

Go for it and enjoy the trip.

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23 hours ago, KEN said:

I would like more information about crossing at either Pharr or Mc Allen .Especially from people that have gone across that way.

Have done it for 8 years now, 15 trips total, never a problem except got robbed once by the Guadalajara cops right after the new SE periferico opened.  Headed that route again Sunday.  We travel ONLY in daylight and on Sundays because there's less truck traffic and we can make better time.  Over the years the road has improved steadily, we used to have to break the trip overnight in Ciudad Victoria, now drive straight through.

Soon the new west bypass of San Luis Potosi will open, making the drive even easier.  After that opens, the only bad part will be that poor ring road around Lagos de Moreno.

Small crossing and thus far they've been very liberal.  Never had to pay.  One trick is to cross over on Sunday morning just as the bridge opens, the customs people haven't shown up yet, only a few soldiers and a very cursory check if that.

Hope this holds true for one more run.  After this, only going annually and only going as far as Pharr.

I have detailed driving directions to Pharr, PM me with your email address if you'd like a copy.  Everyone who has used them has said they work very well.

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10 hours ago, Mainecoons said:

Have done it for 8 years now, 15 trips total, never a problem except got robbed once by the Guadalajara cops right after the new SE periferico opened.  Headed that route again Sunday.  We travel ONLY in daylight and on Sundays because there's less truck traffic and we can make better time.  Over the years the road has improved steadily, we used to have to break the trip overnight in Ciudad Victoria, now drive straight through.

Soon the new west bypass of San Luis Potosi will open, making the drive even easier.  After that opens, the only bad part will be that poor ring road around Lagos de Moreno.

Small crossing and thus far they've been very liberal.  Never had to pay.  One trick is to cross over on Sunday morning just as the bridge opens, the customs people haven't shown up yet, only a few soldiers and a very cursory check if that.

Hope this holds true for one more run.  After this, only going annually and only going as far as Pharr.

I have detailed driving directions to Pharr, PM me with your email address if you'd like a copy.  Everyone who has used them has said they work very well.

YES COULD YOU SEND ME THAT INFORMATION  to kbigbeaver@hotmail.com

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I used to cross at Pharr and take Hwy. 97 down to 101 via Ciudad Victoria.  Due to a brush with "banditos" on Hwy. 97 last fall I have gone back to my preferred alternate - the Columbia crossing.  Last week on a trip up to Houston I tried the newer crossing on the west side of McAllen - Anzalduas - and really liked it due to it's proximity to the 40D and the Reynosa Libramiento..... BUT.... the high cost of the tolls to get from there over to Saltillo (for access to either 57 or 54) is very painful when pulling a single axle trailer.

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