The Amistad Dam was a cooperative undertaking of the American and Mexican sections of the International Boundary and Water Commission. It is 12 miles upstream on the Rio Grande from Del Rio, Texas, and Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, Mexico.
U.S. President Dwight David Eisenhower and Mexican President Lopez Mateos met in Ciudad Acuña on October 24, 1960, to sign the initial agreements authorizing the construction of the dam. President Lyndon Baines Johnson met President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz on the International Bridge between the sister cities in December 1966, to finalize construction plans. Then President Richard M. Nixon met with President Diaz Ordaz for the dedication of Amistad Dam on September 8, 1969. The two presidents inaugurated the "Port of Mexico" facilities on the Acuña side of the dam and later conferred at "El Mirador," which was, at that time, a restaurant just south of the dam.
The Amistad Dam is not the only major construction project in Val Verde County. The award-winning $4 million Herbert C. Petry highway bridge spans Lake Amistad across the Devil's River arm. Just slightly over a mile in length, its 40 piers rise 240 feet above the floor of the Devil's River bed. The Southern Pacific railroad link across the lake is a bridge 60 feet higher running parallel to the Petry Bridge. Further out Highway 90, which traces the route of the historic Old Spanish Trail, is the highest bridge in the State of Texas. Rising 273 feet above the bed of the Pecos River, this landmark bridge is located a short distance upstream from the intersection of the Pecos and Rio Grande Rivers. Just upstream from this bridge lies the Southern Pacific Railroad's Pecos High Bridge. Originally built in 1892, this award-winning engineering marvel was replaced in 1944. It crosses a 2,180 foot wide canyon, 321 feet above the Pecos River bottom. In this same area, a silver spike was driven to connect the final link in the southern transcontinental railroad route, named the Southern Pacific's "Sunset Route", on January 12th, 1883.