Road closed signs on Southbound Interstate 5 at San Ysidro
Interstate 5 southbound at San Ysidro was closed at 3 a.m. Saturday. Courtesy OnScene.TV

Heavy border-area freeway congestion is likely through the weekend due to a 57-hour set of closures that will begin Saturday morning on the southbound sides of Interstate 5 and I-805 south of state Route 905.

From 3 a.m. Saturday morning to noon Monday, all southbound traffic on the two parallel interstates will be rerouted onto SR-905 as part of a modernization and expansion project at San Ysidro Port of Entry, according to the U.S. General Services Administration.

The closures are expected to affect tens of thousands of people who commute across the international line on a regular basis.

Motorists traveling to Mexico through San Diego over the period are advised to use Otay Mesa Port of Entry, about nine miles east of San Ysidro on Via de la Amistad.

The closures will allow construction crews to disassemble a southbound vehicle-inspection canopy over I-5 at the San Ysidro port, considered the busiest border crossing in the world. Additional road work and installation of underground utilities also will take place as part of around-the-clock operations during the closure.

In addition, the three westernmost exit lanes to northbound I-5 from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection primary inspection booths will be closed for seven hours starting at 3 a.m., and there will be limited closures of one to two lanes from 10 a.m. through noon Monday.

Following the 57-hour period of closures, the southbound sides of the two interstates will reopen in the area, with the exception of two lanes, a stretch of which will remain out of service south of the merger of the freeways near Camino de la Plaza.

That lane reduction, from five to three, will remain in effect until Nov. 21, allowing for road improvements and infrastructure work.

The closures are part of a project that will double the number of southbound lanes — from five to 10 — from the United States into El Chaparral in Tijuana.

The improvements will include eight more northbound vehicle-inspection lanes and 15 additional booths at San Ysidro Port of Entry.

The $741-million project is scheduled to be completed in 2019.

— City News Service

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.