A $20.2 million federal stimulus grant will allow construction on a final piece of a six-lane highway interchange near the Otay Mesa port of entry close to San Diego, California’s largest freight border crossing with Mexico.
The Department of Transportation said it finalized an agreement with the state and local governments for the project. Its grant was from a discretionary account in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the DOT to spend on projects of special regional or national significance.
The highway interchange is at the junction of Interstate 805 and state route 905, and the federal grant is the last funding piece in a $449 million effort to complete SR-905.
When the work is done in 2014, it will divert international freight to SR-905 and away from the heavily congested Otay Mesa Road near San Diego, the DOT said, improving safety while handling “significantly more freight shipments” and cutting emissions from trucks that would otherwise be waiting in traffic.
By The Numbers: U.S. Surface Trade With Mexico.
The Otay Mesa Port of Entry -- between Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego -- accounts for an estimated 1.4 million truck crossings and $31 billion in goods each year.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the grant money will help “improve the safety and efficiency of one of America's largest ports-of-entry, which in turn will greatly improve the quality of life for San Diego area residents.”
Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez also said, "Keeping cross-border shipping free from traffic congestion in San Diego is vital to getting goods to market quickly, creating additional jobs and a stronger U.S. economy."
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