NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The completion of the westbound Sabine River Bridge between Joaquin, Texas and Logansport, Louisiana was celebrated Monday.
East Texas News found dignitaries from both sides of the river, as well as from Austin and Baton Rouge.
Twin bridges join two states and two towns on the Interstate 69 corridor. One woman said she hated to see the old bridge come down, but this is so much better.
Each bridge has 12-foot lanes and wide shoulders. There's even a pedestrian walkway. Two mayors want the 12,000 motorists who use it each day to bring commerce to their cities.
"You have timber. Salt water," said Bill Baker, the mayor of Joaquin. All kinds of energy products coming from Louisiana to Texas. We need each other and this bridge is the best connector we could ask for."
"It's gonna make it much safer," said Judge Cordray, the mayor of Logansport. "Much quicker to get through our town and also it will give people the loose room to where they can get out and shop and visit our town more."
The $20.4 million construction project is a collaboration of two states.
Texas voters overwhelmingly voted to designate oil and gas tax revenue and a portion of sales taxes for highway improvements.
"There's a lot of initiative that the legislators are tackling, but I will really remind folks that there aren't a lot of those other issues that they're tackling that the voters have given an 83-percent approval rating," said Jeff Austin III, a Texas Department of Transportation commissioner.
It's a much different situation for neighboring Louisiana, a state that hasn't updated its fuel tax for highways in about 30 years.
"The State of Louisiana failed to index the gas tax so the 16-cents we pay today spends as if it's seven," said Dr. Shawn Wilson, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development secretary.
Increased funding for the Pelican State is in the works. Meanwhile, motorists have their own wait. Construction reps said the westbound bridge probably won't open to traffic until the end of the month.
Motorists on the Texas side are met by four-lane roads through Joaquin.
Logansport chose to keep its Main Street intact in order to place an emphasis on its rich history. Many stores date back to the late 1800s.