Cross-border airport bridge to link Tijuana with San Diego
Backers said the project would benefit both the U.S. and Mexico, but skeptics remain.
By Sandra Dibble11:45 P.M.SEPT. 5, 2013
TIJUANA — A long-standing plan for a cross-border bridge used exclusively by passengers of Tijuana international airport is moving forward, with developers announcing this week that they have started construction on the Mexican side despite Mayor Carlos Bustamante’s continued opposition.
“This is a project that benefits the community,” said Miguel Aliaga, director of investor relations for Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico, or GAP, a Mexican holding company that operates the Tijuana airport and 11 others across Mexico. He and other proponents have pointed to the 28 domestic and two foreign designations served by the airport.
The privately developed project, dubbed the “Gateway to Las Californias,” consists of a 525-foot-long pedestrian bridge connecting the A.L. Rodríguez International Airport directly with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection station in Otay Mesa. It requires multiple government permits on both sides of the border, but developers said most of those sign-offs have been obtained after years of effort.
The developers envision that by the end of 2014, ticketed airline passengers who pay a toll will be able to cross the U.S.-Mexico border within minutes in both directions.
The project’s larger component is financed by U.S.-based investors, and previous estimates have put the price tag at close to $78 million. That amount includes the cost of land, the bridge construction on both sides of the border and building the mixed-use structure that would house shops, restaurants and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection station.
Construction on the U.S. side would last about 15 months, she said Thursday.