09 July 2010 23:45 [Source: ICIS news]
By: James Young
MEXICO CITY (ICIS news)--Rain from a tropical depression in northern Mexico set back recovery efforts from last week's Hurricane Alex, closing several glass plants as well as highways and bridges, sources said on Friday.
Flooding had forced flat and float glass manufacturer Vitro to suspend operations at a number of plants in San Pedro Garza Garcia, Nuevo Leon.
Two of its four automotive glass plants and two of three of its float glass facilities have been closed.
However, existing inventories should lessen the effect that the shutdowns could have on customers.
However, the company was expected to be running normally now.
State-run oil and petrochemical major Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) reported no damage from the tropical depression, and operations were normal.
Officials on both sides of the border have been forced to increase the rate they are releasing water from several of the dams along the course of the Rio Grande river.
For the first time in more than two decades, the International Boundary and Water Commission was releasing water onto an emergency flood plain at the Anzalduas Diversion Dam. In addition, Mexican officials were releasing water from the Venustiano Carranza dam.
The result sent a flood across sections of both the free and toll highways between Monterrey and Nuevo Laredo – a key segment for international commerce.
An official with the Nuevo Leon Communication and Transportation Secretariat (SCT) said that the roads were shut overnight. Officials could reopen the roads, depending on whether more water was released from the dams.
For now, the only connection between the cities is the Monterrey-Ciudad Mier highway, which takes trucks to the river highway that runs along the border.
All traffic between major industrial hubs of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon and Saltillo, Coahuila, continued to be blocked by damage to the highway, and it was unclear how long repairs would take.
For now Saltillo's main path to the Texas border is northward to Piedras Negras, a city across from Eagle Pass, Texas.
SCT officials were in talks with Ferrocarriles de Mexico (Ferromex) to divert rail traffic northward to the Eagle Pass-Piedras Negras crossing, according to the SCT's Tamaulipas office.
SCT spokespersons also confirmed that repairs are ongoing of damaged railways, including the line from Monterrey to Laredo operated by Kansas City Southern de Mexico.
Officials for both Ferromex and Kansas City Southern were working together to re-route traffic around the damaged areas, according to a statement from Kansas City Southern.
Kansas City Southern and Union Pacific expected to reopen rail lines over the weekend.
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