SAN DIEGO - The first segment of state Route 11 -- a four-lane highway along the U.S.-Mexico border -- is scheduled to open to traffic Saturday afternoon, according to the San Diego Association of Governments and Caltrans.
The 1.7-mile segment connects with state Route 905, and extends east from there to Enrico Fermi Drive. SANDAG said it cost $103.4 million to build.
Officials with the regional planning agency said they hope the roadway will help facilitate cross-border commerce, ease congestion in Otay Mesa and reduce wait times at border crossings. It will provide trucks departing the Otay Mesa Port of Entry direct access to the state highway system.
The segment also connects cross-border trucking and industrial facilities on the eastern end of Otay Mesa. Trucks have relied heavily on local roads, such as La Media Road and Airway Road, to get around.
"This is the first of three segments that will eventually lead to an additional port of entry in the San Diego region," said Caltrans District Director Laurie Berman.
"In the interim, motorists and commercial vehicles will be able to use this newly completed highway section to gain easier access to the region's highway system," Berman said. "This partially completed project will reduce traffic and congestion on local streets, getting travelers to their destination."
Future work, to be done when funding becomes available, will extend state Route 11 another mile, where another border crossing will be constructed, according to SANDAG.
"Building 21st century border infrastructure is incredibly important to the economic vitality of our region and the entire state of California," said Supervisor Ron Roberts, who chairs the SANDAG Board of Directors.
"Mexico is California's No. 1 export market, and it's the United States' third-largest trading partner after Canada and China," Roberts said.
”We are committed to building world-class infrastructure to nurture and sustain binational trade and support job growth."
The freeway will operate as a toll road when it's completed.