State Route 905, a newly-built highway designed to accommodate the growing volume of trucks carrying goods between the United States and Mexico, opened to motorists July 30. A grand opening celebration was held July 18 on the freeway that connects the Otay Mesa Port of Entry – the only commercial crossing between San Diego and Tijuana – to the rest of the highway system.
Dignitaries who joined Caltrans Chief Deputy Director Richard Land in the celebration included: San Diego City Councilmember David Alvarez; Alfonso Bustamante Anchondo, Honorary Director of Binational Affairs for the City of Tijuana; SANDAG First Vice Chair and Santee Councilmember Jack Dale; County Supervisor Greg Cox; Caltrans District 11 Director Laurie Berman; Federal Highway Administration Associate Division Administrator Rick Backlund; and Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Alejandra Mier y Teran.
'This project is critical for not only motorists, but for goods movement between California and our largest trading partner – Mexico,' Land said. 'Our goal is to develop and build vital transportation projects for the region that also help both nations prosper.'
The six-lane, 6.4-mile project was built at a cost of $441 million with a mix of local, state, and federal funds. About $92 million for the project came from the federal stimulus program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“The completion of SR 905 has significance not just for the region, but also for Mexico, California, and the rest of the United States,” Dale said. “SR 905 is part of a planned system along the international border that will safely and efficiently move people and commerce between the two nations, fueling our economies and improving our quality of life.”
The new highway parallels Otay Mesa Road, a busy surface street that previously provided the only access to the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. About 68,000 vehicles a day use Otay Mesa Road to reach the border crossing. A high percentage (16%) of trucks on Otay Mesa Road has compounded congestion and impeded border access.
East-west vehicle traffic across Otay Mesa and from the port of entry is forecast to increase significantly in the coming decades. More than 6,000 acres of land near the international border continue to be developed for commercial and industrial use.
SR 905 was built in several phases. Phase 1A, from Britannia Boulevard to Siempre Viva Road, opened to traffic in December 2010. Phase 2, which included improvements to the Interstate 805 (I-805)/SR 905 interchange, opened to traffic in February. This newest segment, Phase 1B, which extends from just east of I-805 to Britannia Boulevard, completes the connection from the port of entry to I-805.
Two more phases of improvements to SR 905 are planned – construction of the SR 905/State Route 125 interchange and completion of the Heritage interchange ramp. An additional $163 million is needed to complete these improvements and landscaping.
The main contractors for the SR 905 project were Flatiron and Skanska.