By Mario Conde
Calexico will suffer a big transformation when the new port of entry opens in 2013 and its preparing itself to make big improvements on Cesar Chavez Blvd.
The new Calexico Port of Entry is expected to being construction in 2011 after the environmental study is finished and approved the federal government. The new port of entry will be for vehicles only and intends to ease the heavy traffic congestion. The first face of the new port of entry projects to have 10 to 12 stations to cross the border according to a study made by GSA. The current port of entry will be used for pedestrians that will cross to the traditional downtown Calexico. Downtown merchants have expressed concern about the new port of entry will take away costumers from them since they will now be entering the U.S. from Cesar Chavez. The new port of entry design shows that there will be an alternative route from Mexicali were vehicles can take Adolfo Lopez Mateos and Cristobal Colon to enter Imperial Ave. in Calexico
The City of Calexico has begun working on Cesar Chavez Blvd. congestion improvements. The City received California Department of Transportation $900,000 in federal funds as part of the Highway Safety Improvement Program. Calexico was the only City in the valley that got this funding. The total cost of the project will be $1,800,000. Calexico was one of 113 projects that were selected statewide from a candidate pool of 476 applications.
Calexico also received in 2009 $2,850,000 earmark demo as part of the Omnibus Appropriations Act, President Barack Obama signed into law that includes a project of great significance in the region. U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer said in a letter to the City of Calexico that the bill includes funding for Cesar Chavez Blvd/Calexico West Port of Entry Congestion Improvements.
As part of the improvements the City plans to put traffic signals between Cesar Chavez and Highway 98. The project also includes installing traffic signals; construct AC pavement, curb, gutter, sidewalk and curb ramps; install traffic signs, stripes and pavement markings.
City Engineer Veronica Atondo said that the improvements need to be done by 2013 before the first phase of the new port of entry opens. Atondo said that the project will have regional impacts and these improvements are necessary to mitigate future traffic congestions and for pedestrians since its dangerous for people that currently walk through Cesar Chavez blvd.
By Mario Conde