SANDAG and Caltrans to begin work Wednesday on final leg of highway connecting to the envisioned Otay Mesa East Port of Entry
Officials are breaking ground on the final segment of state Route 11 on Wednesday — connecting the San Diego region’s highway system to the future Otay Mesa East Port of Entry.
Sections of SR-11 have been completed since 2016, but currently the highway ends at Enrico Fermi Drive in Otay Mesa. This final leg of construction, which includes several highway interchanges, would connect the envisioned port of entry to state Routes 905 and 125.
The highway project, a joint venture between Caltrans and the San Diego Assn. of Governments, is slated for completion by 2021. Construction of the new Otay Mesa crossing is planned to begin that same year and completed by 2023.
“It will be state-of-the-art with traffic management, congestion pricing and border wait-time information,” said Mario Orso, trade corridor director for Caltrans District 11. “This could potentially be the last border crossing that gets constructed in the San Diego-Tijuana region.
“We’re trying to reduce emissions at the border by reducing queues and making a more reliable and efficient border crossing,” he added.
The $100-million highway project includes a four-lane toll road connecting to the site of the future U.S. Customs and Border Protection crossing as well as a California Highway Patrol commercial vehicle enforcement facility.
The hope is that the entire roughly $800-million project, including the border crossing, will fuel economic growth and binational trade in the San Diego-Baja California region by reducing travel times. The commercial traffic at the current Otay Mesa Port of Entry represents the second busiest on the U.S.-Mexico border, averaging roughly 3,500 truck crossings per day.
“Mexico is our most important trade partner for California, but in order to continue the growth of the partnership, as well as the cross-border traffic, we needed to plan for this,” Orso said.
Transportation officials said once SR-11 is completed they’re looking forward to focusing on the development of the port of entry. The project has been in some stage of development for nearly two decades.
Smith writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.