Updated Information about Baja.com story: Alternate Routes Designated/Full Access To Ensenada Remains
(See story below about toll road collapse on Dec. 28)
Baja Government Designates Alternate Routes
Following Collapse of Scenic Road Section
Full Access Remains & Ensenada Events Continue As Usual
ENSENADA, BAJA CALIFORNIA (December 28, 2013) – . The State Government of Baja California, through the Ministry of Tourism (SECTURE), has designated alternate routes following the Saturday closure of a collapsed portion of the Tijuana-to-Ensenada Scenic Road.
The collapsed section of the Scenic Road sits on a geologic fault, said Baja Assistant Secretary of Tourism Ives Lelevier. It is at KM93, approximately 15 miles south of La Mision, and about 30 miles south of Rosarito Beach. It had been scheduled for temporary closure.
Mr. Lelevier said further study is being done to determine more about the cause of the collapse, as well the time needed before the road can be safely reopened.
The Scenic Road, for which tolls are charged, opened in 1967 and carries four million vehicles annually, It is the main route used between Tijuana and Ensenada by tourists, residents, businessmen and others, although an alternative Free Road is available.
“We hope the reopening can be done reasonably quickly, once all safety concerns are met.” Mr. Lelevier said.
In the meantime, events in Ensenada continue as usual. Signage and traffic direction are being put in place so that alternate routes, some near Baja’s Guadalupe Valley wine country, can easily be used.
Motorists traveling south to north, from Ensenada to Tijuana, will need to take the Free Highway and then enter the Scenic Road at La Mision, or simply continue on the free road to Tijuana.
Motorists going north to south, from Tijuana to Ensenada, need to leave the Scenic Road at the same spot deviate and take from there the free road to Ensenada, through the town of El Tigre.
Another alternative is to use the federal Highway 3, Tecate – Ensenada, or take the road Ensenada – San Felipe to travel to Mexicali.
“The picturesque roads will be well marked and assigned additional resources, but we will be working aggressively to reopen the Scenic Road section now closed to minimize any inconvenience.” Mr. Lelevier said.
Baja State Tourism asks that motorists follow the new signs and directions of traffic support staff. Who are working in the area of diversion in order to expedite the maximum circulation.
For relevant tourism information in Ensenada, as well as the rest of the state of Baja California, the Ministry of Tourism has a number for Visitor Assistance and Attention: 078 that can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
From the United States the phone number to call is 1-866 978 7273. Further information also will be posted on www.discoverbajacalifornia.com
Media Contact: Mariano Escobedo, Director International Relations
Collapse of Tijuana-Ensenada Toll Road Precipitated by Earthquake
by José Luis Sánchez Macías, excerpted with permission from San Diego Red
On December 28, late in the afternoon, the spectacular Tijuana-Ensenada toll road fully collapsed. The road, which is the major artery for trucking companies and tourists arriving by car to Ensenada from the north, could take up to year to repair while travelers are forced to use old two-lane road (the free road).
Days after a 4.6 earthquake struck south of Ensenada, the Tijuana-Ensenada toll road has collapsed towards the sea and threatens to continue to sink, although no injuries have been reported. The scenic road had already seen evidence of fractures and sinking since December 19th, the day of the earthquake, with many travelers posting pictures on social media of the increasingly critical situation of the highway.
However, no official state geologist or road engineers have confirmed that the collapse is due completely to the earthquake, with only the state government saying that “natural causes” were to blame. UPDATE: Baja California State Civil Protection has also put out the official version that this was due to a fault line running through the area.
On the morning of December 28, the small fractures suddenly turned into enormous cracks on the cliffside, plunging the highway deeper and towards the sea (while not there yet), with some parts caving almost 300 feet. Via Uniradioinforma.com, State Civil Protection Director Antonio Rosquillas said early Saturday morning that the collapse began to worsen around 2:30 a.m.
The collapse happened at the Salsipuedes stretch of highway towards Ensenada overlooking steep bluffs, only about 10 miles north of Ensenada and the San Miguel toll booth, and 56 miles south of the border.
Authorities have closed the highway from the La Misión toll to the San Miguel toll, forcing travelers to take the old non-toll road from La Misión to Ensenada, a alternate route of about 30 miles. (Residents of the areas south of La Misión but north of the collapse can cut through to their development, with permission by civil authorities).
Also, the Baja state government advises travelers to take Federal Road 3 if they are heading out from Tecate towards Ensenada, or use the old Ensenada – San Felipe road for trips from Mexicali to Ensenada, or vice versa. There are conflicting accounts about just how long the highway will remain closed. Frontera reports that Rosa María Castañeda, regional director of the Federal Roads and Bridges agency responsible for the highway (Capufe in Spanish), has said that it might only take a week until the road reopens once again, although it’s hard to look at the pictures and conclude that it might only take a week. Other reports put the total time needed for such repairs at one year.
On December 29, Baja California governor Francisco “Kiko” Vega, toured the stretch of collapsed highway that connects Tijuana and Rosarito with Ensenada, after it sunk almost 300 feet off the cliffside and towards the coast on Saturday, adding that they’re working towards a definitive solution to the scenic road’s problems.
Baja.com notes: The ‘free road’ route that is being used to redirect traffic to Ensenada turns inland, and is a dramatic road that passes close to Mexico’s wine country. Although it is likely that the route will add 30-50 minutes of travel time to the drive to Ensenada, it is scenic and offers a view of Ensenada that most first-time tourists to the region do not get. Additionally, with the highway being closed in La Mision, at the famous La Fonda restaurant exit, visitors should note that if they are proceeding to La Salina or to Bajamar Hotel and Oceanfront Golf Course (which are not at all threatened unstable earth), they simply need to address the civil servants at the highway exit point.
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