A Southern California state highway to a new border crossing aimed at reducing road congestion between the United States and Mexico has received $49.3 million in federal funding for its final leg.

The San Diego Association of Governments announced that the agency and Caltrans are expecting to receive money from the Department of Transportation to build a one-mile portion of state Route 11 in Otay Mesa, south of San Diego. The funding will also go toward building southbound connectors for state Routes 905, 125 and 11. Caltrans and SANDAG received the federal funds through a competitive grant program for projects that improve freight shipping and highways.

“These investments in roadways — and in the future port of entry — will provide enormous dividends not just to our economy, but also to our environment. Reducing border congestion will help cut air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions associated with idling vehicles waiting to cross the border,” SANDAG Chairman and county Supervisor Ron Roberts said.

The new road, SR 11, is a part of the effort to build Otay Mesa East, a new toll border crossing. Mexico is California’s largest export market and the new crossing is expected to reduce wait times at the border — delays that cost an estimated $7.2 billion annually.

Plans call for a 20-minute average wait-time to reach an inspection point at Otay Mesa East, significantly quicker than other ports of entry where it can take hours to cross. The port of entry is expected to open next year. SANDAG said the crossing will change the cost of the toll based on demand as a way to manage the number of vehicles attempting to cross at any given time.

A 1.7-mile portion of state Route 11 from state Route 905 east to Enrico Fermi Drive opened in March, and the new one-mile span that just received funding will continue the four-lane toll highway to the border. A third round of funding will pay for the port of entry.

Source:  San Diego Union Tribune