MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Mexico's federal government has authorized a new international bridge along its border with Texas, officials said Friday.

The Communications and Transportation Department on Thursday granted the final permit necessary to begin construction on Mexico's side of the border, said Alejandro Govea, the department's spokesman in Tamaulipas state, which borders Texas.

The bridge will connect the Mexican town of Rio Bravo with Donna, Texas.

"It will make travel more fluid for people taking federal highways from Monterrey and Reynosa to the main cities in south Texas," Govea said.

The U.S. has already begun constructing the structure, scheduled to be completed in November 2009, said Ernesto Silva, a contractor with the city of Donna who is coordinating the project on both sides of the border.

Mexico and Donna will invest about US$30 million (18.99 million) each in the 300-meter (nearly 1,000-foot) bridge, which is expected to generate between US$3 and $4 million (1.9 million and 2.53 million)a year for each side in the first year, Silva said. Officials estimate that number will eventually climb to US$7 million (4.43 million).

About 3,500 cars and 250 trucks are expected to cross the bridge each day in its first year.

U.S. General Services Administration spokeswoman Shala Geer-Smith said the federal government will construct an administration building, an inspection facility and a kennel for drug-sniffing dogs.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.