Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico

Air Quality and Street Paving Project in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas

Status: Completed


Nuevo Laredo has a serious air pollution problem caused by suspended dust particles from vehicular traffic on unpaved streets, which is exacerbated by the prevailing winds. A roadway study conducted by the City revealed a high proportion of paved streets in the city's central areas; however, in the rapidly growing southern and western outskirts of the
city approximately 50% of the streets are unpaved.

The strong relationship between exposure to high concentrations of particles in the air and the incidence of respiratory illnesses has been well documented in medical reports. Dust in the air contains PM10, which itself can carry several harmful substances such as lead, arsenic, mercury, sulfates, nitrates and hydrocarbons.1 Accumulated in the trachea and
bronchial tubes, PM10 reduces breathing capability, aggravates asthma, damages lung tissue and can lead to cancer in adults.

The Border 2012 Program conducted a baseline emissions survey to determine the sources of emissions in the border region. In 2002, PM10 constituted 25% (14,102 tons) of total emissions for Nuevo Laredo, the second largest category after carbon dioxide. This represents a 12% increase since the last survey in 1999 and is expected to grow to 18,221
tons per year by 2012. The primary source of PM10 emissions in 1999 was fugitive dust from unpaved roads, which constituted 54.5% of PM10 emissions.

To remedy this situation and increase pavement coverage, the City has established a community paving program, Programa de Pavimentación y Sociedad Organizada (PASO).


Under the proposed project the City plans to pave 900,000 square meters (m2) of roadways with hydraulic concrete or asphalt in three sectors in the southwestern area of the city, which includes 13 subdivisions. The project will be executed over a period of 16 months, with construction scheduled to begin in January 2009.

The City is coordinating with the local water utility, COMAPA, to ensure that the streets proposed for paving already have the necessary water and wastewater collection lines installed.


With this project street paving coverage will be increased from 58% to 80%. Street paving will help reduce air pollution caused by vehicular dust, thus improving respiratory health conditions in the city and in neighboring communities on both sides of the border that share the same air basin. It will also provide safer roadways for motorists and allow faster access for emergency services, such as police, firemen and ambulances. As a secondary benefit, the travel time of vehicles will be reduced, thus reducing exhaust emissions as well.

Project Financing

Total Project Cost US 36.35M
NADBank Funding US 36.35M - NADBank Loan