Border Construction Hampers Commerce
Monday, March 19, 2012
Aired 3/19/12 on KPBS News.
Motorists caught in traffic jams are not in the mood for shopping in San Ysidro.
San Ysidro is known as a shopping destination for residents on both sides of the border. Businesses usually benefit from their unique location between two countries, but ongoing construction is hurting sales.
The southern most on-ramp on I-5 has been closed while additional lanes and booths have been added to the San Ysidro Port of Entry. The closure has caused a detour which has turned San Ysidro Blvd. into a parking lot on most afternoons.
The city has gone from two to 26 office space vacancies since December, according to Jason Wells with the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce.
“We know we need the project overall, and in the long term, it’s good, but at the same time, I’ve got businesses that won’t be here three months from now", Wells said.
The on-ramp is expected to re-open in June.
The construction is part of a $557 million expansion project meant to reduce border wait times from two hours to about 30 minutes.