San Ysidro border crossing reopens ahead of schedule

Posted at 6:49 PM, Sep 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-25 08:34:16-04

SAN YSIDRO (CNS) - A major construction project at the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry will be completed ahead of schedule, officials said Sunday.

The General Services Administration announced southbound Interstates 5 and 805 will be-reopened at 12 a.m. Monday, 12 hours earlier than the agency initially reported.

The freeways had been shut down south of state Route 905 since 3 a.m. Saturday, affecting tens of thousands of people who commute across the border on a regular basis. Those needing to enter Mexico were detoured to the Otay Mesa Land Port of Entry.

The closures allowed construction crews to disassemble a southbound vehicle-inspection canopy over I-5 at the San Ysidro port, considered the busiest border crossing in the world. Additional road work and installation of underground utilities also took place as part of around-the-clock operations during the closure.

Northbound travelers were still able to enter the United States, though there were some limited and intermittent closures of inspection booths.

The GSA also announced it would be re-opening four out of five southbound lanes, rather than three as the agency initially reported. One lane will still remain closed through Nov. 21, allowing for road improvements and infrastructure work.

``Construction was well planned and executed during the closure with close to 300 people working to complete the project,'' said Anthony Kleppe, GSA port of entry program manager. ``GSA would like to thank its partners at Caltrans, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, San Diego Police and the California Highway Patrol for their support during the closure. GSA also thanks the travelling public for their patience this weekend as we completed crucial work on the roadway.''

The closures are part of Phase 3 of the GSA's San Ysidro entry port modernization and expansion project, which includes a plan to double the number of southbound lanes -- from five to 10 -- that go into El Chaparral in Tijuana.

The project will also involve adding eight more northbound vehicle inspection lanes and 15 more inspection booths in San Ysidro.

The lane-expansion project is estimated to cost $741 million and is expected to be completed in 2019.

As the GSA proceeds with the construction project, travelers were advised to continue monitoring posted signage and reduce speed through the construction zone. Signs will be posted to announce changes in traffic patterns within the construction area, officials said.