Valley International Airport Transportation
The city’s airport, Valley International Airport (HRL), provides a transportation service area that encompasses the lower Rio Grande Valley and northern Mexico, serving more than two million people on both sides of the US-Mexico border. Valley International Airport lies in the northeastern portion of Harlingen and offers a border-crossing option via the Free Trade Bridge at Los Indios. The airport has aligned itself as the Air Cargo Hub of the Rio Grande Valley and works closely with carriers such as DHL, FedEx, BAX Global, Continental Express Cargo, and Southwest Airlines Cargo. In 1975, Southwest Airlines began to fly to the Rio Grande Valley via Valley International Airport with four roundtrips each business day. Southwest currently offers non-stop flights between Harlingen and Austin (AUS), Dallas-Love Field (DAL), Houston-Hobby (HOU), and San Antonio (SAT). Additional airlines that serve the airport include United Express to Houston-Intercontinental (IAH) and Sun Country Airlines with seasonal, non-stop service to Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) during the winter season from October through May.
Two six-lane divided highways intersect in Harlingen: U.S. Highway 77 and U.S. Highway 83. U.S. Highway 77 connects to Interstate 37 at Corpus Christi. U.S. Highway 83 connects with Interstate 35 at Laredo.
International trade bridges
The Free Trade Bridge at Los Indios is a state-of-the-art international bridge located just 10 miles (16 km) south of Harlingen. With a full U.S. Customs inspection facility that accommodates up to 75 trucks simultaneously, the Free Trade Bridge is acclaimed as the most time-efficient border crossing in the Rio Grande Valley. The Free Trade Bridge accesses a four-lane highway in northern Mexico, offering a fast route to the border cities of Matamoros and Reynosa, as well as the industrial city of Monterrey. With the completion of Mexico’s State of Tamaulipas new ‘autopista’, the Free Trade Bridge will provide a seamless highway connection for more efficient distribution of industrial products to and from interior Mexico.
The Port of Harlingen is located four miles (6 km) east of Harlingen on Highway 106. It is 25 miles (40 km) West of Mile Marker 646 on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, which stretches from the Mexican border at Brownsville, along the entire coast of the Gulf of Mexico to St. Marks, Florida. The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway provides over 1,300 miles (2,100 km) of protected waterway, 12′ deep and 125′ wide. The Harlingen Channel is maintained to a width of 125 feet (38 m) and a depth of 12 feet (3.7 m) and is supplied by the Arroyo Colorado, a fresh water river.
Union Pacific Railroad has a local terminal and switching yard in Harlingen. The Harlingen Industrial Parks and Port of Harlingen have direct rail access.
Harlingen has a rich history as a railroad town. The Southern Pacific depot has been razed, however, it was one of four SP depots in the Rio Grande valley (the others are Brownsville, now a museum; McAllen, now a law office; and Edinburg, now the home of the Chamber of Commerce.)