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Imperial Valley (California) Corridors Initiative - 2005 Update

Statement by Martin Weiss

A statement by Martin Weiss, Team Leader, National Systems and Economic Development Team, Office of Interstate and Border Planning, FHWA.

On April 5, 2005, I visited the corridor in company with a local official.

The visit served two purposes. The first; was to thank and recognize the cooperation of government and non-government officials in the 2002 Imperial Valley (California Corridors Initiative study study. This study is available at:

The second; was to get a first had look at the corridor a few years after the study (which was completed in 2002). Approximately contemporaneous with the FHWA study, a number of other initiatives were ongoing in the county. The 2002 study had forecast specific economic developments if specific highway developments were completed. What actually happened was that none of these highway developments were completed and the economic developments did not appear. However, this was only part of the story.

One of the anticipated highway improvements that have not yet taken place was improvement of an interchange on I-8 at Imperial Avenue. Another of the highway developments that did not take place was the next substantial phase of the Brawley Bypass. However, along the completed part of the Bypass, the Brawley Campus of the San Diego State University (SDSU) has been established. This location of the Campus allows easy access to the Calexico campus of SDSU.

This is the Brawley Campus of California State University at San Diego (SDSU). A completed portion of the Brawley Bypass serves this facility. Without the Brawley bypass, the trip between the Calexico campus of SDSU and the Brawley campus of SDSU would be about 40 minutes instead of the 20 minutes it is now.

April 6, 2005.

Photo of two flags in front of a builoding.

This is the terminus of the constructed portion of the Brawley Bypass. It ends about at the same latitude and the south portion of the Brawley airport.

April 6, 2005.

Photo of an orange and white barrier.

However, a number of highway improvements have taken place in the area. One such improvement is the improvement of State Route 7 and the extension of this highway to I-8 east of El Centro. The southern terminus of this highway is at a Port of Entry between Mexico and California that was opened in about 2003. State Route 7 was to be opened in the month after this visit. Even before the opening of this connection, new buildings housing logistics companies have been built.

This is the Port of Entry at State Route 7, about 10 miles east of Calexico.

April 6, 2005.

photo of a four lane divided road

This is about the midpoint of the existing end of State Route 7 and I-8. This portion was set to open later in April 2005.

April 6, 2005.

Photo of a two lane road and road sign

This is the interchange of California State Route 7 and I-8. The interchange was set to open later in April 2005.

April 6, 2005.

photo of an orange truck at an intersection

This is one of the new logistics employers that recently opened in the vicinity of the State Route 7 Port of Entry. The POE itself opened in 2003.

April 6, 2005.

photo of the Metport Business Center

Further activity near the border at Calexico is expected over the next decade or so. This area of the border has been upgraded periodically. Calexico is the site of a very substantial cross border trade, not only involving freight but also labor and retail trade. For example, in the past half-decade or so, Mexicans have traveled across the border specifically to purchase appliances in the United States because of warranty provisions, while Americans have traveled across the border specifically to purchase prescription medicine.

This is the Calexico crossing that was closed in the early 1970s. It is a few blocks east of the existing crossing.

April 6, 2005.

photo of two cars in a parking lot

This is looking south at the existing POE in Calexico.

April 6, 2005 .

photo of a street and lot with trees

This is the office building housing the Border Control Agencies in Calexico near the existing POE.

April 6, 2005.

photo from the street of an office building with five planters on the sidewalk edge

This is Imperial Avenue (a.k.a. State Route 111) as it turns east to enter a Port of Entry in Calexico.

April 6, 2005.

Photo of a car on a four lane divided road

This is the area that is, within about 5 years, planned to become the Cesar Chavez part of the Calexico POE. When that happens, there will be, in effect, a one- way movement south at this part of the POE and a one-way north movement at the existing SR 111 part of the POE.

April 6, 2005.

photo of a tree in a field

Updated: 1/31/2017
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