After months and years of anticipation, the new Calexico Port of Entry Expansion opened its doors to vehicular traffic coming northbound into the U.S.
At exactly 8 a.m. on Tuesday, September 11th, traffic on Cristobal Colon Avenue was diverted to another route so the vehicles could cross on to the new port of entry. It was a day that changed the border dynamics in Calexico and Mexicali forever as residents had to accustom themselves not only to a new route but to a new border culture that is here to stay. It was the end of the Calexico Downtown Port of Entry who closed their vehicular crossing after 44 years. The building will remain in operation but will only be for pedestrian crossers for the next year pending the approval of funding of the second Phase of the new port.
The Calexico Land Port of Entry is the main border crossing linking the important Imperial Valley agricultural industry to the state of Baja California. The port processes about 15,000 – 20,000 northbound vehicles and 20,000 northbound pedestrians daily. The former vehicle inspection facility, built in 1974, cannot accommodate existing traffic loads and security requirements.
Phase 2 will include additional site work, demolition of the existing port building, a new pedestrian processing facility, administrative offices, five southbound POV inspection lanes with canopies and booths, and six additional northbound POV inspection lanes.
The General Services Administration, understanding the impact Calexico West Land Port of Entry has in the local community, began the construction of the new port with the latest technological advances in order to protect the borders and also speed up the long traffic lines that have been a problem for many residents on both sides of the border.