San Diego’s busiest port of entry is scheduled to be closed from September 23 from 3 a.m. to Sept. 25. San Ysidro’s vehicular entrance into Mexico is currently under renovation, but the pedestrian bridge will remain open in San Ysidro as well as in Otay. This two day shutdown will make way for the final process of a $741 million dollar expansion plan. The of entry port is scheduled to remain closed for 57 hours.
Mexican natives who commute from Mexico to the United States daily for work or school will be affected drastically by the operation. Enrique, an Academic Success Center tutor at Southwestern said he is worried the alternative route into Mexico through Otay will not be enough to sustain south bound traffic.
“Imagine the chaos that will ensue in Otay’s port of entry, there are only about 5 lanes into Mexico at that particular entry in comparsion to nearly 26 in San Ysidro.” he said. “I am hoping I can call out of a district training session I have scheduled on September 25. If not it will be very difficult to get back home.”
According to the General Service Administration (GSA) office alternative routes into Mexico will be open such as the Otay port of entry which is only 9 miles east of San Ysidro. The pedestrian bridge in San Ysidro will also be open. “La Lagarita,” or, ‘the border,’ as referred to in Spanish, is being closed specifically due to safety concerns. GSA also said they plan to remove large columns of steel as well as a canopy canvas that lies directly over a portion of the southbound entry lanes. Officials said after the reopening, they hope the entry into Mexico will be more efficient and suitable for citizens on both sides of the border. Entrance into Mexico is notoriously known by its extreme traffic overload, hours of delay, and a two mile ramp that can take upward to two or three hours on a daily basis.
Once this phase of the renovation is completed, there will only be four open lanes at the southbound port of entry for the last 18 months of the operation.