November 1st has a new significance both to San Diego and Tijuana from now on, with the new access point into Mexico called "El Chaparral", and with this new entry Puerta Mexico will no longer be in operation.
Mexico's President Felipe Calderon assisted this grand opening to get to know the facility, and also of all the technology that it will work with to detect and prevent all types of contraband that are hidden both in cars and trucks. This was his last official visit to Tijuana as President, starting December 1st, Enrique Peña Nieto will take the position as President of Mexico.
The president said that at "El Chaparral" crossing into Mexico is a lot faster now, and it does not matter if you have a red or green inspection light signal, which are all installed on the 21 gates of this new access point.
Others who also attended this grand opening were the governor of Baja California Jose Guadalupe Millan, Secretary of Finance Jose Antonio Meade and also many business men from both sides of the border.
To get to El Chaparral drivers must head towards the border as usual as if they were heading towards "Puerta Mexico", and then when getting close to the San Ysidro border they must follow the signs that will lead them to the new route towards the new gates.
The Otay border will continue to operate as usual.
The video below gives you a brief idea of what the new route looks like to get to "El Chaparral" and of all of the signs you will need to look for depending of where you're heading towards in Tijuana or Baja California.
Video : Access to "El Chaparral"It's important to point out that that the access into the United States of the border in San Ysidro has not changed or been modified both for cars and for pedestrians.
They both still remain the same, and the other change that has been made also is the pedestrian crossing into Mexico, which runs alongside of the U.S. pedestrian crossing located by the Trolley station.
Since last week "El Chaparral" was put to the test, by officials opening its doors to see if there were any problems with their systems and observe that traffic conditions, and until now everything looks to be just operating and running fine, but the real test will be this coming weekend, in which they will have an increase in traffic due to everyone who normally crosses into Mexico along with people who are just visiting that will be also heading their way.
Border officials have reported that until now 10,000 vehicles have crossed the border without a problem.
The route for access to "El Chaparral" is right now only temporarily since in this project there is also a formal route for access that was planned, which will modify the San Ysidro border and the access to this area is being planned to be from I-5 freeway.
This project will possibly be completed by 2017, but for now the collaboration by the United States has come to a pause due to budget cuts.
Translation : Omar.Martinez@sandiegored.com