Toll road that connects Tijuana, Ensenada could reopen as early as this summer

SAN DIEGO - The toll freeway connecting California and to Ensenada and the rest of Baja California could be reopened as early as this summer, a San Diego newspaper reported Sunday.

Mexican business and government officials hoped to have temporary short-term repairs made within six months, U-T San Diego reported.

Repairs were necessitated after a huge chunk of the four-lane toll road slumped 300 feet towards a cliff, perched above the Pacific Ocean, about 56 miles south of San Ysidro. The massive collapse early on Dec. 28 snarled the direct route to farms, cities and factories that are part of an intensive U.S.- Mexico trade area.

The Salsipuedes stretch of highway has been slumping for years, and a 4.6-magnitude quake on Dec. 19 may have accelerated the collapse, according to U-T San Diego.

Geologist Pat Abbott told U-T San Diego that gravity was the main factor in the collapse of the roadway, which had long been considered unstable, and added seismic activity didn't help.

"Very frankly, that road should have never been built," Abbott said.

The toll road, Highway Mexico 1-D, was closed following the collapse from the La Mision toll gates to the San Miguel toll gates. Coastal traffic was detoured inland on the old free highway, Mexico 1.

The closure was atop a cliff that drops several hundred feet into the Pacific Ocean, just south of the Costa Azul LNG station, owned by San Diego's Sempra Energy. The plant was apparently not affected by the earthquake.

The closure was beyond Rosarito Beach, Puerto Nuevo and other popular tourist attractions near San Diego.

Heavy truck traffic was reported on the two detours, the old free highway and Highway Mexico 3 between Tecate and Ensenada.

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