SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MEETING

                         CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS
                          1110 HOUSTON STREET
                             LAREDO, TEXAS
                               6:00 P.M.


       M98-S-05                                  FEBRUARY 9, 1998


       With a quorum present Mayor Protem Jose R. Perez, Jr. called the meeting
       to order.


       Mayor Protem Jose R. Perez, Jr. led in the Pledge of Allegiance.

       LOUIS H. BRUNI,             "      , DISTRICT II
       CECILIA MAY MORENO,         "      , DISTRICT IV
       ELISEO VALDEZ,              "      , DISTRICT V
       JOE A. GUERRA,               "     , DISTRICT VI
       MARIO G. ALVARADO,          "      , DISTRICT VII


       2. Discussion and possible action regarding various ideas and/or
          strategies that can be implemented in order to deal with the traffic
          congestion on I.H. 35.

          Robert Murillo, Traffic Engineer, gave a summary of what transpired in
          the last two meetings of November 17, 1997 and
          November 24, 1997.  He stated that the preliminary recommen-dations
          were given at the council meeting of December 1, 1998.  The six
          recommendations made were:
          (1) - Open Bridge I with the same hours as Bridge II, from 8:00 a.m.
                to 12 midnight.
          (2) - Extension of Lafayette to connect to Anna Truck Route
                and designate it as a truck route.
          (3) - Providing funding for personnel for additional police to provide
                enforcement on IH-35.
          (4) - Deletion of Scott Street as a Truck Route.
          (5) - Implementation of a staging area at River Drive Mall area with
                the necessary personnel to man the holding truck area.
          (6) - Initiate a dialogue with Nuevo Laredo authorities to create a
                remote staging area to reduce congestion at the Nuevo Laredo
                Import Lot.

          Mr. Murillo reported that both bridges are now open until midnight.

          Rafael Garcia, Bridge Manager, reported that freight crossing
          statistics on a 13 month time span.   Bridge I handles approximately
          33% of all the freight that goes into Mexico and Bridge II handles
          about 57%.   Colombia is now handling more freight south bound than
          Bridge I.  The different ratios Garcia had to show were 23% for Bridge
          I, 49% for Bridge II, and 28% for Columbia.

          Cm. Casso stated that he would like to transfer IH-35 traffic and
          route them through Calton Road onto Anna Truck Route and Santa Isabel.
          This would be the 90 day relief solution.  The 90 day solution  is to
          look for staging areas and another solution is Colombia.  He proposed
          to shut the bridge to commercial truck traffic Bridge II after 4:00 or
          5:00 p.m.  This would force them to use Bridge I.  If the mechanism
          didn't work, they could play with the hours until it worked.

          Florencio Pena, City Manager, stated that changing the hours from 8:00
          p.m. to midnight did not work because we were supposed to see a shift
          in cargo to Bridge I and it did not happened.  The difference was in
          the opening of 3 lanes.  When the three lanes were opened, they
          reduced the amount of congestion.

          Luis Landin, Traffic Manager, gave the following costs for
          a staging area:
                               Public Works resurfacing     $38,421
                               fixed costs                   38,421

                           2 traffic personnel from Traffic  32,000/yr.
                           2 traffic personnel from Bridge   35,000/yr.
                           Total personnel cost per year:    67,000/yr.
                           Total overall cost ..........:  $105,421

          He added that this does not include the cost of additional police
          officers needed to maintain order.  The project would take from 2 to 3
          weeks to implement it.

          Cm. Bruni stated the possibility of allowing the trucks using Bridge
          II not to be charged the $12.00 fee from the morning hours to 12:00
          p.m., and from 1:00 to 4:00 charge them the $12.00 fee, and  after
          4:00 p.m. charge them double or triple.  He said to play around with
          this on a temporary basis.  He proposed to advise the incoming traffic
          that the middle lane is not really a freeway anymore, it is a down
          ramp from Del Mar to the International Bridge.  He also stated that
          there should be a strip painted solid from Del Mar all the way to the
          bridge and by the Tourist Center where the TxDOT sign would state
          "Extreme Danger Be Prepared to Stop" and that there is always police
          presence.  Enforcement is the key issue.

          Police Chief Agustin Dovalina reported that the enforcement issue
          would involve funding from 6 to 11 police officers to be able to
          adequately handle the situation on IH35, as well as the stationary
          area is that is being proposed for a total cost of $200,000 per year.
          They are looking to assigning officers up and down IH35.  The officer
          will be assigned to patrol IH35 either on a bicycle or patrol marcher.
          Another officer position towards the end of the truck line, advising
          other drivers that the line is to the end and to be careful.  Another
          officer assigned to direct traffic and clear the intersection at
          Houston and Santa Ursula.  Another officer assigned to Matamoros and
          Farragut and/or Farragut and Santa Ursula.  Two officers assigned to
          direct traffic and clear the intersection at Victoria and Santa
          Ursula.  They would also need to assign several officers from the
          regular time on duty to assistance particularly in debit for
          $200,000.00.  At this time there are seven officers working at IH35.
          One officer on IH35 from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m., another at the end of the
          line from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m., one on Houston and Santa Ursula from
          4:00 to 6:00 p.m., and one on Matamoros and Santa Ursula from 4:00 to
          6:00 p.m.   Three other officers will be assigned to the staging area
          from 3:00 to 10:00 p.m.

          Mr. Mercado, Texas Department of Transportation Director of
          Operations, introduced the issues of the IH35 project and US59
          project.  On the IH35 project, for the exception of the topping layer
          on top of the interstate and a few landscaping things that are still
          pending, the project itself is pretty much completed with 3 lanes
          open.  They are in the process of modifying the design due to road
          degradation by the trucks.  Right now they are in the point where the
          only thing they are missing is to put the final blacktop.  They have 3
          months before completing the blacktop but the three lanes are still
          open.  The only thing that would happen is that there would be another
          layer on top of what is there.  As far as additional things that are
          out there, there are signs that are being put up and will take a month
          or so to be finished.  There are sensors on the pavement on three
          locations that identify when any of the trailers start building up on
          the interstate.  Basically, they start flashing on the electronic
          board to electronic boards.  One is north of Milo and the other one is
          right in front of the mall.  When any of the trailers stand more than
          five minutes on top of that sensor, it sets of the alarm and it
          flashes the lights and warns the trailers where to move.   Delay is on
          modification of type of pavement and all markers having to be the

          Juan Garza, Webb County Sheriff, offered support and manpower stating
          that we should work together and coordinate a plan for an immediate
          solution and safety.

          Rudy Williams, Department of Public Safety Representative, stated that
          manpower is the issue.  They have 5 troopers assigned to the entire
          Webb County.  Their main objective is the rural traffic problems,
          though the department is willing to assist they do not have the
          manpower to help out.  He concluded by stating that he would have to
          adjust the hours in order to commit to inside as opposed to rural.

          Jorge Trevino spoke against routing the trucks from IH35 to the right
          part of town, through Calton, Santa Maria, Santa Isabel, and Anna
          Truck Route.

          Tom Wade, Vice President of the Laredo Transportation Association,
          stated that they support the original proposal with IH35.  They don't
          consider IH-35 a parking lot, it is an entrance to a toll bridge.  He
          added that the decision that they had to make was one that would
          balance the economic growth of this community in the transportation
          and trade industry vs. the safety aspect vs. monetary cost.  They have
          always looked at this as a short term solution.  The fluctuation of
          tolls makes sense since it offers an incentive to cross earlier and a
          penalty for crossing later.  It still allows you to make that later
          crossing because the bottom line shipper demands for that material to
          get there at a certain time and he is willing to pay that cost.
          Whether the cost ends up off-setting, how the cost would come up, and
          where the money would be made, if there is money left over would that
          would require some study by the city.

          C.Y. Benavides III, representing Colombia Toll Road, stated that the
          Colombia Toll Road is the solution, Colombia is the answer now.  He
          said that the Colombia Toll Road doors will be open by 1999.

          Jesus Ponce spoke about various options of not moving the trucks away
          from IH35.  One option was to move the trucks to the access roads
          starting at the 18-mile marker.  Another alternative was to use the
          mid-section of IH35 to place the trucks.

          Segio Lujan, President of the Nuevo Laredo Agentes Aduanales and the
          Laredo Freight Forwarders, stated that there were 157 accidents along
          the road from Colombia to Nuevo Laredo in 1997.  Of the 157 accidents,
          there were 8 deaths and 158 injuries and that this is not the answer
          to route trucks through Colombia due to the high safety issues.  He
          also said that reduced hours at Bridge II is not the answer either.
          They want to solve the IH35 problem and cross through Bridge II,
          because Bridge I has no modulos on the Mexican side for expediting
          cargo.  He added that another problem seen on bridge II was when there
          was no cargo nor passengers on the bridge but still there was line in
          the collecting booths.  One solution is to allow empties through
          regular booths or customs assign another booth exclusive for empties.

          Fidel Ramirez asked about a temporary road to connect to Anna Truck
          Route behind CPL for the Mines Road trucks.

          Florencio Pena, City Manager, replied that staff has looked at it.
          It's a major project and Mr. Alvarado is keeping up with it.  Orilla
          would connect to Industrial Boulevard.

          Cecilia Moreno asked if it was possible to connect beyond that line.
          This issue was brought before the Councilmembers which is part of the
          RFP study, three meetings ago.  This study will not take a long time
          once they get an engineer or a consultant.  This study will not take
          more than 3 months to be put together.  This project was funded by MPO
          and is a to be done by this fiscal year.

          Motion to instruct staff to shut down Bridge II to truck cargo traffic
          from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.; close as soon as possible; review this
          motion after ten days or two weeks and then change it.  At 8:00 Bridge
          II will be opened again.  Trucks will be charged regular fees.  The
          intention is to change the hours of operation, not necessary to use
          the other bridge.

          Moved : Cm. Casso
          Second: Cw. Moreno
          For:  3              Against:  4         Abstain:  0
          Cm. Bruni            Cm. Valdez
          Cm. Casso            Cm. Guerra
          Cw. Moreno           Cm. Alvarado
                               Cw. Montalvo

          Motion to keep the truck traffic on the left lane on IH35; increase
          enforcement; and that all trucks getting on IH35 need to go to the
          very back even if it means going to the Del Mar entrance or further
          back to the Tourist Bureau entrance and no cutting in.

          Moved : Cm. Alvarado
          Second: Cw. Montalvo
          For:  4              Against:  3         Abstain:  0
          Cm. Valdez           Cm. Bruni
          Cm. Guerra           Cm. Casso
          Cm. Alvarado         Cw. Moreno
          Cw. Montalvo




       3. Requests by Mayor and City Councilmembers for discussion and

    A.  Requests by Councilmember Louis H. Bruni

       1. Approval of change order no. 1, a decrease of $8,635.75 to the
          construction contract with McLean Construction Company, Inc., Killeen,
          Texas, for the Montgomery India Drainage Improvements. This change
          order no. 1 is a credit amount to the City for implementation of an
          alternative construction method for re-surfacing the project streets
          by utilizing the existing pavement to reduce down time to traffic
          accessibility, and this action will expedite the work. This
          alternative method will not compromise the integrity of the street
          pavement quality.  Funding is available in the Capital Improvement
          Fund Montgomery/India Drainage Project.

          Motion to instruct staff for the next meeting that the decrease to
          come back and be funded for the sidewalks.
          The amount of money be appropriated for a sidewalk on one side of the
          street adjacent to the Lara School and following the 6 blocks where
          this project took place.

          Moved : Cm. Bruni
          Second: Cm. Guerra
          For:  7                       Against:  0         Abstain:  0

    B.  Requests by Councilmember Alfonso "Poncho" Casso

       1. Discussion and possible action regarding the construction of Highway
          59. (Co-sponsored by Cm. Louis H. Bruni and
          Cm. Eliseo Valdez, Jr.)

          Cm. Casso stated that the concern on this issue were the
          angry citizens and businesses along Sanders.  He said that some
          businesses are down about 40% in sales and asked why did they
          barricade more than 10 blocks, why not just 1 block at a time.

          Cm. Valdez reported that he has a list of recommendations from the
          meeting held last week.

          Mr. Hector Alvarado stated that they need a firm commitment from
          Council to help with the traffic due to construction.

          Tony Gutierrez, from Kimberly's Flower Box, stated that the
          construction is hurting most of the businesses and that there is a
          drop of 45-50% drop in a month and that in 2 years they'll be out of
          business.  He asked what kind of relief from Council can they get and
          that maybe they can meet with staff or Council to find a solution.

          John Vidaurri, Assistant City Manager, reported on the meeting held.
          There were some concerns that were brought up by some of the merchants
          and residents along Sanders.  They are working with TxDOT to address
          some of these concerns.  One of the things that was talked about at
          the meeting was going ahead and working through the TxDot Public
          Information Office so that merchants and residents along Sanders were
          aware of the status of the project.  They could express their concerns
          through the Public Information Office regarding anything related to
          the project.  Another issue was the speeding up the project.  The
          Utilities Department has identified a source of funding which they
          will be able to use to contract out portions of the utilities
          relocation.  It is estimated by the utilities director that this will
          save approximately 3 months of time.  TxDOT agreed to meet with price
          construction and look at ways to fast track the project.  They will
          eliminate as much as the inconvenience as possible.

          Cm. Valdez asked that staff do all that is possible to expedite the
          City's part of the work on this project.
          Another thing that we have to look at is temporary exceptions to our
          signs ordinance to help the business people do all possible to post
          the temporary signs to attract more business and minimize some of
          their loses.  After this is done, he wants the staff to provide some
          ideas put up a report bi-weekly at the city council meetings to make
          sure they monitor the project and keep track of progress.

          Cm. Bruni asked to keep track of the contractor, Price Construction,
          to see that they're at there working on the project every day since he
          is also working on IH 35, Hwy 359, and now Hwy 59.  He asked that we
          providing enforcement on parking of buildings on public property.

          Salvador Mercado, from TxDOT, reported on what was discussed with the
          businesses attending the meeting and explained the project process and
          scheduling.  The project postponed for 18 months will now be for a lot
          less.  What they are doing now will take 8 to 9 months, then they
          shift the traffic over to a wider and completed section that is going
          to be three lanes.  They will work with city on scheduling and work
          out some of the problems facing the businesses.  They have made a
          commitment not to close the entrances.  The property owners will have
          access throughout the project.  The problem is that they are
          restricting the access, but they are eliminating the traffic.  They
          can't have both, but they are trying everything to improve.

          Keith Selman, City Planner, stated that it is all a matter of how we
          structure it.  Whether or not we want to allow for people to place
          temporary signs on public right-of-way or to allow for increase
          signage on premises.  We will explore the recommendations of the

          Florencio Pena, City Manager, stated that on the meeting on the 17th
          they will evaluate the concerns and recommendations.  The funding
          became available February 2nd.  If they feel their money is there, and
          in line with the other projects that are coming down for TxDot if they
          can do them all, they will present something on the 17th.  They will
          issue a change order and they will it approved by council to pay TxDot
          so that price can do the relocation opposed to themselves.  There is a
          18" water line that is in that area and is a very difficult project.
          They might need outside help to do that problem.  The assistant
          director for the utilities said that for the 18" waste water line they
          have proposed to put up some specs and announce and go up for bids for
          the next two weeks to see how much it is going to cost them.  They are
          estimating it is going to cost them about $200,000.

          Cm. Valdez requested that a report be provided to Council once a month
          by TxDOT on its progress.


          Motion to adjourn.    Time:  9:40 p.m.

          Moved : Cm. Alvarado
          Second: Cm. Valdez
          For:  7                       Against:  0         Abstain:  0


                                   GUSTAVO GUEVARA, JR.
                                   CITY SECRETARY