Los Fresnos News

Rio Hondo Lift Bridge Opens After Long Delay

The Rio Hondo lift bridge is now open after nearly a two-year repair project. Photo: Tony Vindell/LFN

by Tony Vindell/LFN

The lift bridge in Rio Hondo has finally opened following a year and 10 months long project to repair the span over the Arroyo Colorado.

The $12.4 million project took longer than anticipated as problems with the structure were found by a contractor hired by the Texas Department of Transportation.

The bridge opened the afternoon of Friday, July 13 but with little fanfare.

By contrast, the city of Rio Hondo scheduled “Bridgefest” on April 28 to celebrate the bridge but the span remained closed pending unexpected repairs.

Ben Medina, the city’s manager, said the bridge is now open.

“There is a lot of traffic going through,” he said, “and everybody is happy.”

But Mary Lucio, owner of Pizza Express, is not.

She was left with a $541 unpaid bill for cooking 500 portions of rice and charro beans after she was hired by the city to prepare the food for the bridge pachanga that included live music, the participation of the local school district and guests invited to the event.

Gary Ober, a Rio Hondo resident, said some 400 people attended the fest.

“City people came to my place on April 23, tried the food and requested my restaurant services for the April 28 fest,” she said. “I said I could only cook rice and beans and not barbecue chicken because we were not prepared for that.”
Lucio said they prepared the rice and beans for the fest but were told nothing was done in writing after she mailed a receipt to the city, denying the payment a city letter reveals.
And to this day, she is yet to be paid for the food she said which was bought and prepared.
Medina said they do not have anything to do with Lucio’s claim.
“The bridge fest was to get the community together,” he said. “There was a lot on tension going on but the bridge is now open.”
He said the city spent about $3,000 on Bridgefest and that a celebration to mark the completion of the bridge will be held sometime in September.