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Lanes of Interstate 5 Near Border to Reopen

From a Times Staff Writer

Four lanes of Interstate 5 near the International Border will be reopened and a 10-foot fence built along the median to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing the freeway, authorities said Friday.

The plan was announced as government officials decided to halt a six-week experiment, designed to prevent pedestrian deaths at the busy border crossing, by closing half of the eight freeway lanes.

Jesus Garcia, district director for the state Department of Transportation, said work will start Tuesday on tearing down the barriers that have narrowed the freeway to two lanes in each direction just north of the border crossing in San Ysidro.

The new plan reflects a change in philosophy about how to keep illegal immigrants from being struck and killed by cars as they cross the freeway. By closing freeway lanes, officials had hoped to make the crossing safer; by erecting a fence, the goal will be to thwart the immigrants crossing.

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Garcia said the fence “will not stop all from crossing” the freeway, but it will cut down on the number of women and children attempting the dangerous freeway dash.

Since 1985 there have been 112 pedestrian deaths in the border area. All have involved immigrants and all have occurred at night.


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