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Award of Merit: Transportation Category

Reynosa-Pharr International Bridge Overlay/Repair
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Reynosa, Mexico

Submitted by BASF Construction Chemicals Mexico

Reynosa-Pharr Bridge

Morelos, Mexico

Project Engineer/


Repair Contractor
Pirenda Constructora y Urbanizadora
Michaocan, Mexico

Material Suppliers/

BASF Construction 
Chemicals Mexico
Naucalpan, Mexico

One of the most important international bridges between the Mexican state of Tamaulipas and Texas in the U.S. is the Reynosa-Pharr International Bridge, which carries up to 7000 cars and 2500 trucks daily. The Mexican section of the Reynosa-Pharr Bridge had a very uneven surface, caused by some leveling defects in expansion joints as well as some problems during casting and post-tension operations during initial construction. This situation led to some accidents and severe damage to several vehicles.

The bridge was reprofiled previously with less-than-satisfactory results. Construction was performed in the daytime with ongoing traffic and under adverse weather conditions. As a result, the materials did not perform as intended, and major delaminations occurred, leaving an even rougher riding surface.

Because of a good experience with a prepackaged rapid cementitious material in the past on another bridge, the decision was made to use this same material again but at off-peak traffic hours. Other factors contributing to the success of this project include the methods of preparation for the material, the application of a special long-pot-life bonding agent, and the use of a prepackaged rapid repair mortar that was extended with 3/8 in. (10 mm) aggregate to provide wear resistance. The expansion joints were also replaced in 26 of the 29 locations.

The contract required completion in 60 working days, with the work performed when the bridge was shut down for traffic from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. The project proceeded exceptionally quickly when the procedures were well-outlined despite the fact that two hurricanes in the area interrupted the schedule.

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