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Crews prepare for I-5 closure at San Ysidro Port of Entry

SAN YSIDRO, Calif.  – In two weeks, all southbound lanes of Interstate 5 and Interstate 805 near the San Ysidro Port of Entry will be closed.

The lanes will be shut down south of state Route 905 to allow crews to rebuild a portion of the I-5 heading into Mexico.

“We are now beginning phase two and three. They’re going to be worked on simultaneously,” said Anthony Kleppe, Land and Port of Entry Regional Program Manager.

Kleppe is with General Services Administration, the agency behind the $741 million renovation project at the San Ysidro Point of Entry.

The agency completed phase one of the project in July. The first phase included an update of the northbound auto entry lanes and the newly built pedestrian facility called Ped West.

“This entire project spans about 52 acres. It’s so big, we had to split it into three phases,” said Kleppe.

Phase two is an additional pedestrian facility near the San Ysidro trolley station.

Phase three involves the realignment of I-5 into Mexico.  The update includes five new vehicle inspections at San Ysidro and nine more lanes in Mexico.

Initially, the multi-million dollar renovation was expected to decrease wait times down to 30 minutes or less by 2030, now the projection is less optimistic.

“What has happened is we’ve seen a lot greater increase in the number of vehicles crossing,” said Kleppe. “We anticipated about 10 percent increase when we opened the new lanes, we’ve seen a 20 percent excess of vehicles that are crossing.”

Tijuana resident Israel Madueno regularly crosses the border. He said he chooses to walk across because the auto lanes take much longer.

“I walk about 90 percent of the time,” said Madueno. “Monday’s are the worst, sometimes I wait 2 to 3 hours when I drive."

He said the upgrades underway are nice and much needed, but will only work if properly staffed.