Run Over

Small towns in the Big Bend area brace for an onslaught of Mexican trucks rolling their way thanks to NAFTA

Activists in Marfa already are preparing to do battle. "This is all about giving Midland and Odessa a deepwater port. The only people it will benefit is someone who's going to open up a truck stop or motel. For all the rest of us, it's noise pollution and traffic," says Gary Oliver, a local cartoonist.

"I'm very concerned about the character of this place changing. Groups of people are moving here for aesthetic reasons. The idea of a lot of truck traffic, as opposed to artists and tourists, is not what I want to see," Oliver says.

Citing past victories in regional environmental battles against creating waste dumps in Sierra Blanca and Andrews County, Oliver sounded a brave if lonely call to arms against the impending truck invasion. "These guys don't have any more money than the nuke-dump people had, and we beat two of them," he says.

A road runs through it: Big rigs may soon disturb the peace in sleepy Marfa, above, once Mexico completes a highway linking West Texas to western Mexico. Below, pavement for the new highway breaks on either side of the Rio Conchos in the Chihuahuan Desert.
John Davenport/San Antonio Express-News
A road runs through it: Big rigs may soon disturb the peace in sleepy Marfa, above, once Mexico completes a highway linking West Texas to western Mexico. Below, pavement for the new highway breaks on either side of the Rio Conchos in the Chihuahuan Desert.

Meanwhile, out of sight, three hours to the south, Mexican highway crews are laying asphalt, blasting rock and building bridges. And next spring, the trucks are coming.

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