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Border & Immigration

Caltrans opens third truck lane at Otay Mesa border crossing facility

Trucks line up in Tijuana waiting to cross the border at Otay Mesa in this undated photo.
Matthew Bowler / KPBS
Trucks line up in Tijuana waiting to cross the border at Otay Mesa in this undated photo.

California Department of Transportation leaders Friday announced the opening of an additional commercial vehicle weigh-scale lane at the Otay Mesa Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Facility, which increases total truck lanes for freight to three.

According to Caltrans, the existing Otay Mesa Port of Entry is the second-busiest truck crossing along the U.S.-Mexico border. More than 1.4 million trucks crossed northbound through the region's three commercial land ports of entry in 2021, contributing an estimated $22.8 billion in economic output for California and $48.1 billion for the rest of the U.S.

"Improving goods movement capacity at the border will provide immediate economic benefits and reduce planet-warming pollution for the entire Tijuana-San Diego region and beyond," said California Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin. "This project aligns with our Core Four priorities of safety, equity, climate action and economic prosperity and once again demonstrates California's leading role as an economic engine and a vital link in the nation's supply chain."


The new lane is intended to improve efficiency and reduce wait times and related emissions for cross-border freight. The $8.9 million project from the California State Highway Operations and Protection Program started construction in January 2023 and opened to traffic one month ahead of schedule, a statement from Caltrans read.

After federal inspection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, all cargo trucks crossing into the U.S. from Mexico in Otay Mesa pass through the CVEF, where the California Highway Patrol inspects for weight and vehicle safety before the trucks enter the state highway system.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg visited the facility in November 2022, followed by the California Transportation Commission and Mexico's Camara Nacional Del Autotransporte de Carga visiting the project in August 2023 to "highlight the importance of efficient goods movement for the economy of both countries and the regional air quality from idling truck emissions," a statement from the state transportation agency read.

Additionally, Omishakin visited the area recently to announce the completion of the roadway network connecting to the future Otay Mesa East Port of Entry, scheduled to open by the end of 2026.

To date, more than $1.5 billion of federal, state, and local transportation funding has been invested in Otay Mesa alone.