Long Waits at Pedestrian Bridge
One man claims he waited for his brother to cross the bridge for over three hours in the blazing sun.
When we went down to bridge number one Tuesday evening, we saw some pedestrians hitching rides with drivers to get out of the heat.
Not only is it affecting people crossing into the United States, but a local business owner claims it's affecting his sales.
"Yesterday I lost three wholesale customers. They called me and said they are going back to Mexico. They were standing three hours; they only moved about six feet in three hours and they said they just have to go back. They were suffering in the heat."
Pedestrians we talked to this evening who did not want to be on camera said they waited about 1-2 hours to cross over into the United States.
Local business owner Luvi Samtani said his store has been open since the 1970's and he's concerned because he's seen far less people downtown recently.
"What they need to do, and this is my advice to them and they have done this. They have four lines on the bottom level and three lines on the upper level. That’s seven lines. Like today they were only having 2-3 on the upper level and that’s why the traffic was backed up. You have all these employees, use them make them work."
Laredo port director Sidney Aki acknowledges the long lines, but said customs is upgrading for the better.
"We have inconvenienced travelers today. Especially today, given the fact that we have had a lot of upgrades to our systems. As you can see the limitations we have here are very limited but we are trying to get quicker cables, quicker collectivity to assist the processing."
Officials said the computers on the lower level have been down due to upgrading their system, only allowing 2-3 lanes to be open on the top level.
Aki said he understands local businesses concerns, and they are working with the city to keep people coming across.
"We understand the business owners here on the border.....We want to continue having a huge amount of travelers coming in. Why? Because it's good for us, good for the business, good for the economy of Laredo."
Officials said to avoid the long lines, stay away from peak hours, which are between 8:00 a.m. and noon.
They say they do not have a time limit on when the upgrades will be done, but say it will be complete soon.