Baja governor tours collapsed Ensenada highway area

Arriving by helicopter, Kiko Vega met also with local and federal officials and promised a "definitive solution" to the problem

Baja governor tours collapsed Ensenada highway areaPhoto: Baja Civil Protection
Photo: Baja Civil Protection

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ENSENADA.- Baja California governor Francisco "Kiko" Vega, toured the stretch of collapsed highway that connects Tijuana and Rosarito with Ensenada, after it sunk almost 300 feet off the cliffside and towards the coast on Saturday, adding that they're working towards a definitive solution to the scenic road's problems.

Governor Vega boarded a helicopter on his way from the state capital, Mexicali, and landed a few feet from the damaged highway, received by local, state and federal officials and emergency workers and where he told reporters he has been constantly updated and monitoring the situation.

He promised to treat the situation as an emergency that necessitated federal founds for immediate repairs, cautioning all Baja residents to prepare for serious economic impact after one of the most important forms of communications between Ensenada and the rest of the state has been severed, although alternate routes exists and should be used carefully.

Afterwards on Sunday, he met with several officials from all three levels of government, including with minister Gerardo Ruiz Esparza of the Communications and Transportation Ministry, charged with all public transportation infrastructure in the country. He informed governor Vega that they are also looking at "definitive solutions" and not just temporary workarounds to the Tijuana-Ensenada road, so as to "avoid a repeat of the situation in the future and offer all safety conditions for users of this important line of communication" said a statement released by the Baja California state government.

Governor Vega talked again on Sunday with Benito Neme Sastré, director general of the Federal Roads and Bridges, or Capufe, agency, for updates from the technical team at the collapse site.

Previously on Saturday, Kiko Vega announced the formation of a technical board charged with coordinating municipal, state and federal agencies and resources around the highway and its repairs. Manuel Guevara, current head of the state Infrastructure and Urban Development Ministry (SIDUE in Spanish), will oversee the board.

Also, Vega toured the damaged area on Sunday with Ensenada Mayor Gilberto Hirata.

Although promising to work alongside both the state and federal governments, Mayor Hirata has accused the Capufe of negligence on the issue of preventing the highway from collapsing or of not doing enough to ensure the safety of the tollroad's users.

He reminded the federal agency that cracks and sinkholes on the road had been forming for days leading up to the collapse, and it was only luck that prevented casualties, as the road sunk around 2:00 a.m. on Saturday with little to no traffic on it (a cement truck was traveling in the middle of the collapse road, but the driver managed to get out safely).

The private sector also warned last year of an overall unstable situation on that particular stretch of the scenic highway, asking for a complete closing and restructuring of the road, and even proposing a suspension bridge, tunnels or a completely new stretch of highway away from the coastal area.

VIDEO : The disaster area

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