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Border & Immigration

New Crossing Opens On Mexican Border, But Concerns Still Exist

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Mexico officially opened the new "El Chaparral" crossing along the San Ysidro border on Thursday. The 22-lane U.S.-Mexico border crossing replaces the old one, known as Puerta Mexico, and aims to combat extreme traffic and wait times that have plagued commuters for years.

After a week of trial runs, Mexican officials are hopeful. From the U-T San Diego:

Mexican customs officials have been testing El Chaparral since Oct. 24, at times even routing all traffic through the new facility…typical waits during those times lasted three to five minutes. A test of peak traffic flow last Friday afternoon, when all cars were routed to El Chaparral, showed maximum wait times of about 10 minutes.

However, concerns still exist. While Mexico pushed to open El Chaparral, the U.S. still waits on funds from Congress to open their end. For now, that means drivers heading south on Interstate 5 are being rerouted with a sharp right turn off the freeway.

Although the right-hand detour is only two-tenth of a mile long, business leaders and commuters fear it will create the same traffic problem El Chaparral is trying solve. It seems Baja California business leaders and the Mexican government have found a only a makeshift solution to the well-known problems of Puerta Mexico. Again, the U-T San Diego:

Baja California business leaders continued to express concern about the new crossing Tuesday. Mario Escobedo Carignan, the head of the Tijuana’s Consejo Coordinador Empresarial, a business umbrella group, said in a written statement “the business community expects that Puerta Mexico will remain open until the viability of the new crossing is proven.”

The statement said that President Felipe Calderon committed to keeping at least three lanes of Puerta Mexico open “until El Chaparral can be converted to a more agile crossing.”