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U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, D.C., www.dot.gov/affairs/briefing.htm - News

FHWA 11-11
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Contact: Doug Hecox
Tel: 202-366-0660

FHWA Administrator Mendez Helps Break Ground on $17.9 Million SR 905/I-805 Interchange Near San Diego

Recovery Act Funds to Curb Congestion Near One of America's Fastest Growing Ports of Entry

SAN DIEGO - Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez today joined state and local officials in breaking ground on the final segment of the SR-905/I-805 Interchange project which will help accommodate traffic growth near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, one of America's busiest ports.

"This project will not only create jobs in southern San Diego County today, but will help lay the foundation for a prosperous future in southern California," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "The interchange project will strengthen both the local and regional economies by helping meet the tremendous current and future demand for the Otay Mesa Port of Entry."

The Otay Mesa Port of Entry is one of America's 10 busiest land ports. It is the busiest commercial port on the California/Baja California border, and handles the highest dollar volume of trade among all U.S. land ports and the second highest volume of commercial trucks.

Currently, Otay Mesa Road, a nearby six-lane street, is the only access to the Port of Entry, contributing to massive traffic congestion and cost and delay for commercial shipments. Nearly 68,000 drivers rely on Otay Mesa Road each day, a volume that is estimated to triple by 2030. According to the San Diego Association of Governments, half of these vehicles are en route to or from the Port of Entry and the volume is expected to nearly triple along this segment of SR 905 by 2025.

The interchange is linked to a billion-dollar series of projects to expand and improve the roads leading to and from the Otay Mesa Port of Entry and the San Ysidro Port of Entry, located six miles to the west. Both ports are located in southern San Diego County. The project will add new lanes and widen existing ramps.

The $17.9 million grant comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program, which promotes innovative, multi-modal and multi-jurisdictional transportation projects that provide significant economic and environmental benefits to an entire metropolitan area, region or the nation.

"This interchange project would not be possible without Recovery Act dollars," said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. "By putting people back to work and improving a key roadway along one of the nation's most critical commercial routes, we are making a long-term investment not only in the safety of drivers in southern California, but also in the state's overall economy."

Of the more than $26.6 billion in Recovery Act highway funds available nationwide, California received nearly $2.6 billion. The TIGER grant used in this project is one of 51 awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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