SAN YSIDRO, Calif. -
A major change at the U.S. Port of Entry in San Ysidro has made crossing the border from San Diego into Mexico much easier.
More lanes officially opened Thursday morning, and with shorter wait times and increased security, it's just the first of three major improvements at the world's largest land border crossing.
Travelling into Mexico at San Ysidro is no longer a straight drive down Interstate 5. 10News drove the new route Thursday and found that drivers are now required to make a sharp right-hand turn, straight towards the new El Chaparral Port of Entry.
Once there, drivers will see an increase in the number of inspection lanes -- from 8 to 22 lanes. This will accommodate the more than 12 million cars that cross into Mexico at San Ysidro every year.
"I cross every day," said Mexico resident Jacobo Romero. "It's better, it takes two minutes. It used to be 15 minutes, so it's better for me."
Mexico resident Frank Ramirez told 10News that the traffic on the other side of the border is his concern.
"I think of it more of a pain because there is more traffic down there," said Ramirez. "The buses, the taxis … and there are only three lanes."
It was in early 2011 when 10News first showed plans unveiled by the U.S. General Services Administration and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Those plans showed a crossing with shorter wait times and increased security. It's just the first of a three-phase, $577 million project between the U.S. and Mexico.
"I think it's good because there's a lot of waiting," said Mexico resident Martha Cruz. "It makes it better, so it's worth it."
By 2016, the plan calls for 34 northbound lanes from Mexico into the U.S., with 64 inspection booths.