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World-class plans for busy border crossing

$630 million, binational, eco-friendly expansion project is designed to lessen wait times at San Ysidro port

Sunday, September 19, 2010 at 8:32 a.m.

Plans for the border crossing


Architects working on a major expansion and realignment of the San Ysidro Port of Entry, one of the busiest land-border crossings in the world, say they’re creating an environmentally friendly update that will quicken the flow of drivers and pedestrians.

“It’s the opportunity of a lifetime to work on a facility that is this important, not only in terms of size ... but also because of all the national security issues,” said the project’s top architect, Craig Curtis of Seattle- based Miller Hull Partnership.

The General Services Administration is handling the U.S. side of the project. It plans to spend $577 million, and the Mexican government will invest $54 million.

The port of entry will stay open during all three phrases of construction, but delays could occur. The first phase is taking place, with U.S. crews building a new 1,600foot-long pedestrian bridge.

More congressional funding is needed for the entire project, which won’t be completed until at least 2016.


The number of northbound vehicle inspection lanes will increase from 24 to 34.

Southbound lanes will increase from six to as many as 12.

There will be two pedestrian crossing areas in both directions on either side of Interstate 5. Currently, there is one northbound pedestrian crossing east of I-5, and one southbound crossing that’s west of I-5.

The revamped port of entry will have more buildings for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a larger primary and secondary vehicle inspection area, and a larger northbound connection and a realigned southbound connection to Mexico’s planned El Chaparral Land Point of Entry facility.


The community has long pushed for a project that would decrease wait times at the border. Now it’s working with government officials to minimize disruptions to nearby businesses during the construction phases.

The San Ysidro Smart Border Coalition successfully campaigned for the second southbound pedestrian lane east of I-5. It’s still working to secure what it believes are fair payments to businesses displaced by the project.


Coordinators want the project’s buildings to receive a platinum rating, the highest designation for green construction offered in the U.S. They also hope to achieve “net zero energy” in all buildings, meaning that as much power is generated as it is consumed.

The United States has no netzero facilities that operate 365 days a year.

In addition, plans call for a 700,000-gallon rainwater reclamation system that would use the water for landscaping.

Architects say with a separate processing area for buses, they hope to encourage people heading north to forego their own vehicles and use public transit instead.


The Mexican side of the project involves moving southbound lanes west of the current crossing and more than doubling their number — to 19.

Officials said by the end of this year, workers will complete two of four bridges connected to the expansion: Three will channel southbound traffic to different parts of Tijuana, while the fourth will feed into the northbound lanes.

Mario Diaz Solis, director of special projects for Baja California, said the new southbound lanes should be open by 2013.

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# re: World-class plans for busy border crossing

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 9:46 PM by Real Estate Vietnam

Looks like a good investment for the future. I am sure that businessmen will love this place.

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