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New pedestrian plaza to debut Monday at San Ysidro Port of Entry

Kristina Davis, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in News & Features

SAN DIEGO -- A new southbound pedestrian plaza at the San Ysidro Port of Entry is set to open to the public on Monday, the latest project to be completed as part of a major overhaul of the land border crossing with Mexico.

The plaza routes pedestrians onto a pathway that leads south to a crossing point with Mexico. The area is located on the southeast side of the recently opened PedEast facility and right off the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System trolley and bus station.

San Ysidro, the busiest land border crossing in the Western Hemisphere, has been undergoing a massive $741 million modernization and expansion to process travelers quickly and securely. The port sees 70,000 northbound vehicle passengers and 20,000 pedestrian crossers a day.

The entire project is slated to be completed in October.

In August, the U.S. General Services Administration -- the government agency overseeing the project -- unveiled the PedEast entrance, a light-filled building with 22 processing lanes linked to shaded walkways.

Two years before, the new 14-lane PedWest facility opened. Both sides process northbound pedestrians.

PedWest also has a place for pedestrians to enter Mexico. That crossing is near the Virginia Avenue Transit Center.

Another part of the project involves realigning part of southbound Interstate 5 into Mexico's El Chaparral Port of Entry. The construction will expand the number of southbound vehicle inspection lanes on the U.S. side from five to 10, and from 10 to 19 at El Chaparral.

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The first three lanes will open in mid-May, and the rest should be finished by the end of June.

Southbound I-5 will be closed at the border, as well as the Camino De La Plaza exit, from 10 p.m. Sunday to 7 a.m. Monday. Vehicles will be detoured to southbound Interstate 805 via the state Route 905 connector to enter Mexico. The port will remain open.

The freeway realignment is expected to be completed this summer.

A new U.S. Customs and Border Protection administration building opened last summer. Most recently, the historic 1933 Customs House was restored and now includes a visa processing center and office space.

(c)2019 The San Diego Union-Tribune

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