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Crossing to Tijuana to be faster than expected

GSA dismisses an increase in waiting times when going into Mexico after the upcoming detour. Crossing to Tijuana to be faster than expected.

SAN YSIDRO.- The biggest concern for the border community when they found out that the Puerta Mexico crossing port was closing on November 01, 2012, was the vehicular chaos that it would bring, but according to US authorities that won’t be the case.

The US General Services Administration (GSA) informed sources this Friday that, according to research done by their agency, the waiting time from I-5 to the new El Chaparral crossing facilities in Tijuana through the temporal access that is currently under construction would be less than a minute.

That is considering Mexico will have 22 customs booths in El Chaparral and that only five lanes will be used in the “closed curve” at the end of the freeway.

“We took a traffic model that comes from I-5 to the curve that goes to El Chaparral,” explained Anthony Kleppe, in charge of GSA projects. “What our studies show is that we have extremely low waiting times of less than a minute.”

The officer emphasized the lack of funding for the last two stages of the San Ysidro border expansion project where the ideal access from the freeway to the Mexico entry point is.

It is estimated that 50,000 vehicles cross the Tijuana-San Diego border daily.

To be able to continue with the construction work in Puerta Mexico, authorities announced a few changes in the southbound pedestrian crossing.

Starting from next Monday at 9am, a new pedestrian crossing will open a couple of feets away from the San Ysidro trolley station. Three days after that, authorities will permanently close the iconic walkway to Tijuana that was used for years at Puerta Mexico.

The signals have already been placed, so there will be no problems guiding pedestrians to the new crossing.

In addition, it was informed that, temporarily, the transfer of deported individuals will be through Otay Mesa; that is expected to change to El Chaparral area by Virginia Avenue on November 05, says Oscar Preciado, project manager of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

According to GSA, the idea is having two bilateral crossings for April of 2015, both the one to open next Monday and the one through El Chaparral.

“This way, the border community will have two options to cross: through the east and through the west.”

On another subject, Kleppe stated that to avoid overcrowding the area with buses and other vehicles, passengers will still be able to cross through Camiones Way (next to UETA), only now they will have a longer path to travel having to cross the bridge.

Translation by Karen.balderas@sandiegored.com

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