SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Development of a new elevated, pedestrian bridge for Tijuana International Airport (TIJ) passengers crossing the U.S./Mexico border has commenced construction. The unprecedented project – named the “Cross Border Xpress” – is the first to connect a facility in the U.S. directly into a foreign airport terminal. The $120 million private project broke ground after more than six years of planning, design and permitting, including government agencies on both sides of the border. The project is expected to open for passenger crossings in Summer 2015.
The Cross Border Xpress will serve the approximately 2.4 million passengers who already cross the border as part of their travels, and will help them avoid unpredictable, often long delays at congested San Ysidro and Otay Mesa land ports of entry. Users of the bridge will be able to access the more than 30 destinations within Mexico that TIJ offers, many of which are not served by other Southern California airports. TIJ also has direct flights to Shanghai and Tokyo.
“The Cross Border Xpress has captured the interest of the business community in the San Diego-Tijuana region for many years. Millions of dollars and thousands of jobs are being lost each year due to border crossing delays and wait times, and that loss has a real and tangible impact on the economy of our region, as well as our quality of life,” said Jerry Sanders, President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. “This is a significant catalyst for business between the U.S. and Mexico.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which has participated in the design of the San Diego facility, will staff operations at the Cross Border Xpress through an agreement with the project’s ownership.
“This partnership is an innovative way to optimize resources and help mitigate peak wait times,” said Director of the CBP San Diego Field Office, Pete Flores. “Together with our private sector partners, we can better facilitate travel to continue to grow our economies on both sides of the border.”
In the U.S., the Cross Border Xpress will feature more than 65,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor patio waiting areas for passengers and guests, retail, food and beverages, fully bilingual customer service and information, and short- to long-term parking. The bridge itself will be 390 feet long, enclosed with divided north/south corridors. Inside the TIJ terminal, construction is underway to accommodate the landing of the bridge and improve passenger facilities with new areas and amenities.
In Mexico, the Cross Border Xpress represents a key strategic asset for Tijuana as it increases its airline connectivity to Mexico and the world. Cross Border Xpress broadens Tijuana’s industrial, tourism and commercial platform while it also strengthens its position as a Maquiladora destination.
The project has proceeded with overwhelming support from government agencies and business development organizations.
“This is a great example of private investment creating much-needed public infrastructure to facilitate safe, secure travel and trade,” said Mark Cafferty, Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. “A multi-million dollar binational private investment in our region will create capacity for more than two million border crossing per year, that will translate to job creation, industrial development, and competitiveness for the San Diego – Tijuana Region.”
The project is being developed and operated by Otay Tijuana Venture, LLC, a private investment group with U.S. and Mexican shareholders. Investors include PAP Corp, Palareo, Inc. and EGI-Otay Investors.
The project is being financed by Bancomext and Invex, with construction under way by Turner Construction and Hazard Construction in San Diego, and Grumesa S.A. de C. V. in Mexico. World-renowned architects Legoretta + Legoretta designed the project in conjunction with Stantec, which has extensive experience in designing airport facilities throughout the world.