Caltrans/SANDAG News Release
Nov. 30, 2016
Contact: Steven Shultz (Caltrans) , (619) 688-6670
Contact: Helen Gao (SANDAG), (619) 699-1950
Three Key Freeway Connectors Now Open In Otay Mesa Helping To Reduce Border Congestion
Connectors Will Benefit Otay Mesa Border Crossing, Which Processes More Than 7.8 Million Northbound Vehicles Each Year
SAN DIEGO—Three key freeway connectors linking State Routes 905 and 11 to northbound South Bay Expressway/the SR 125 toll road opened to traffic today, providing millions of vehicles exiting the Otay Mesa Port of Entry direct access to the congestion-free SR 125.
Previously, northbound vehicles exiting the border crossing have relied on local streets such as La Media Road and Siempre Viva Road, to access northbound SR 125.
“The new connectors will make a difference in the lives of tens of millions of people who cross the San Diego-Tijuana border each year for work, family, business, shopping, entertainment, education, and other reasons,” said SANDAG Chair and county Board of Supervisors Chair Ron Roberts. “By enhancing the border infrastructure system, we also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution associated with traffic congestion.”
The future South Bay Rapid – a high-frequency transit service between the Otay Mesa Port of Entry and Downtown San Diego – will rely on the connectors to provide fast and reliable service. SANDAG began construction on the 26-mile Rapid route in March. Service is expected to begin in 2018.
The connectors also will benefit southern San Diego neighborhoods and eastern Chula Vista communities by providing them with the option of traveling on SR 905 or SR 11 and then heading north on SR 125 as a means to avoid congestion on I-805 and I-5.
“This project provides a critical regional link that will serve to more efficiently move people, goods and services,” said Caltrans Trade Corridor Director Mario Orso. “It moves us one step forward to achieve our vision of a safe, sustainable, integrated and efficient transportation system to enhance the economy and livability.”
In the future, the connectors will serve the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry, which is to be built east of the existing Otay Mesa crossing. Plans for the new port call for achieving a 20-minute border wait time to reach primary inspection. Currently, border wait times at Otay Mesa and San Ysidro can stretch into hours.
The Otay Mesa Port of Entry, the main commercial port of entry in the California-Baja California region, processed 15.8 million people and 7.8 million vehicles headed northbound in 2015, up 0.8% percent and 0.5% percent from 2014, respectively. (Crossing statistics report available here.)
The northbound connectors project cost approximately $21 million, including design, right-of-way acquisition, and construction. Funding sources include: $16.1 million from Proposition 1B’s Trade Corridors Improvement Fund (TCIF); $2.7 million from the federal Coordinated Border Infrastructure Program; and $2.6 million from the regional TransNet half-cent sales tax for transportation approved by San Diego County voters. Construction of the southbound connectors is scheduled to begin in 2018.
# # #