Easing congestion at border is goal of multi-million dollar expansion project

It’s a typical morning at a border crossing that will see 50,000 vehicles and 25,000 pedestrians enter the United States before the day is over. Easing the congestion is the goal of a $732 million expansion and modernization project at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, a project being done in three phases.

Much of the emphasis has been on the increase in the number of primary inspection booths, from 24 to 62, but one of the reasons they gave KUSI an exclusive all-morning look at the project has to do with the opening of the new administration building.

The building, which will be dedicated in a couple weeks, houses a state-of-the-art watch commander’s office, which includes a panoramic view of the traffic and events below, and is in stark contrast to the current watch commander’s headquarters in a building constructed in the 70’s.

Still, it’s the expansion of the inspection booths that has gotten most of the attention. The booths are double stacked, meaning two cars in the same line can be inspected at the same time.

“It gives us roughly 50-60 percent more throughput in the same lane,” said Joe Misenhelter, Assistant Director of the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

Misenhelter also showed off all of the new technology, positioned well before the inspection booths.

“Our technology zone gives us the ability to capture advance information before reaching the primary officer,” said Misenhelter.

The equipment includes radiation detectors focused on terrorism, and cameras that hone in on license plates.

The target date for completion of everything is 2019, and keep in mind the various phases are being funded in increments as well. The good news is that 47 of the new booths will be open by October of this year.

Later, we will see reconfiguration of the I-5 lanes, that involves southbound traffic connecting to Mexico’s new port of entry. It’s a move that will free up more space for additional booths on this side.

Categories: KUSI