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Comprehensive Transportation Projects

State Route 11 and Otay Mesa East Port of Entry

View project brochure in English and Spanish.

SANDAG and Caltrans, along with a number of key local, state, and federal agencies in the United States and Mexico, are working aggressively to expedite the construction of an innovative port of entry in the San Diego-Baja California region with the objective of dramatically reducing border wait times. Insufficient capacity at existing border crossings in the region costs the United States and Mexico billions of dollars in foregone economic output each year. Hours-long delays are undermining productivity and industry competitiveness at the regional, state, and national levels.

The State Route 11/Otay Mesa East Port of Entry (POE) Project will provide fast, predictable, and secure crossings via tolled approach roads that connect directly to a new state-of-the-art POE serving both personal and commercial vehicles. The goal is to operate the new POE with an average 20-minute border wait time.

Efficiencies will be achieved through a host of innovations and technologies, including: 1) an integrated approach to providing advanced traveler information for the region’s major ports of entry; 2) a new border wait time detection system that feeds advanced traveler alert capabilities; 3) the use of electronic variable toll rates as a demand management strategy at Otay Mesa East; 4) and partnership approaches to designing and financing value-added amenities.

SR 11/Otay Mesa East POE Project is a flagship border infrastructure project that will enhance binational prosperity. Mexico is California’s number one export market. In 2013, the Golden State exported $23.9 billion in goods to Mexico, accounting for 14 percent of all California exports. At the national level, Mexico is the United States’ third largest trading partner, after Canada and China, accounting for more than $506 billion in bilateral trade in 2013. More than 7 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico trade value crosses at the Otay Mesa and Tecate ports of entry in the San Diego-Baja California region. And more than 90 percent of total trade between California and Mexico is transported by trucks, which seek greater reliability and predictability that the new POE will provide.

Binational, Multi-Agency Collaboration

In May 2013, President Barack Obama and President Enrique Peña Nieto announced the formation of the US-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue (HLED) to promote economic growth in the United States and Mexico, create jobs for citizens on both sides of the border, and ensure that both nations can better compete globally. The SR 11/Otay Mesa East POE Project is recognized as a priority project under the HLED.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed in July 2014 between Mexico and California, a binational, multi-agency oversight committee has been formed to expedite the construction of the SR 11/Otay Mesa East Project. The committee held its first meeting in November 2014 and meets regularly to work on key project milestones.

Project Status

Under a plan approved in January 2012 by the California Transportation Commission, the project will be built in three segments:

Segment 1 (SR 11 first phase): construct a four-lane freeway between SR 905 and Enrico Fermi Drive (now under construction)

Segment 2 (SR 11 second phase): construct a four-lane toll highway from Enrico Fermi Drive to the new Otay Mesa East POE and construct a new Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Facility

Segment 3: construct the new POE

Construction on the first segment began in December 2013 and is expected to be completed in fall 2015. This segment is funded by $80 million in Proposition 1B Trade Corridors Improvement Funds allocated by the California Transportation Commission.

View the 2013 project update video.

Traffic and Revenue Study

View study and appendices.

A binational, investment-grade traffic and revenue (T&R) study has been completed. The study provides an estimate of the revenue-generating capacity of the project. As part of the T&R study, more than 1,500 passenger vehicles, pedestrians, and trucks were surveyed to determine who will use the new crossing and how much they will be willing to pay in tolls in order to save time. In addition, key representatives from 100 companies, including maquiladoras, transport companies, and agricultural product shippers, were interviewed to gather their perspectives on issues involved in crossing the border and attitudes toward the proposed new POE. The survey and interview data supplement the sophisticated crossborder model that’s been created to predict traffic and revenue for the project.

Intelligent Transportation Systems Study

The Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Pre-Deployment Study is currently underway. The goal of the study is to assess innovative operating concepts and technologies to create a secure, state-of-the-art border crossing. A major objective of the ITS study is to identify ways to manage the approach roads to the regional border crossings as a system. Through traffic management centers in the United States and Mexico, actual border wait times will be posted; traffic conditions will be available through multiple platforms (such as roadway signs and the 511 traveler information system); and approach lanes to the new POE will be segmented to better organize traffic prior to security inspections. Once the ITS technology is deployed, it will collect and provide real-time information on border crossing choices for both personal and commercial vehicles, including variable toll rates at the Otay Mesa East POE and wait time patterns on both sides of the border for the entire San Diego-Baja California region. The technology also will collect tolls electronically. The data collection will work seamlessly with the region’s established ITS architecture to enable travelers to make educated choices on when and how to travel. It is envisioned that ITS will have six high-level system functions along the region’s border, including:

1. Data collection/analysis
2. Toll revenue collection
3. Traveler information display
4. Traffic management/monitoring
5. Vehicle safety inspections support
6. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Aduañas (Mexican Customs) Operational Assistance

View ITS Flow Diagram

View ITS state-of-the-practice border technology scan

Milestones Achieved

June 2008: Feasibility study of the proposed Otay Mesa East POE completed by U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

August 2008: Tier 1 environmental clearance secured for the freeway and location of the POE. The Program Environmental Impact Report/ Phase 1 Environmental Impact Statement (Final Phase I PEIR/PEIS) was completed and received approval. 

October 2008: SANDAG toll authority legislation (SB 1486) approved.

November 2008: Obtained Presidential Permit to create the new Otay Mesa East POE. 

July 2011:  Program development study for the Otay Mesa East POE completed by GSA, in partnership with Caltrans.

January 2012: Secured approval from the California Transportation Commission to implement the project in three segments and secured $80 million to fund construction of the first segment.

September 2012: Tier 2 environmental clearance secured for location of the SR 11 interchanges. The Tier 2 Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (Tier 2 EIS/EIR) was completed and approved.

December 2013: Construction began on the first segment of the project, which includes connectors to SR 905 and a stretch of the new SR 11 highway from SR 905 east to Enrico Fermi Drive.

July 2014: Memorandum of Understanding signed by California and Mexico to expedite construction of the project.

November 2014: Binational, investment-grade traffic and revenue study completed.

For More Information

Contact Scott Strelecki at for more information or to be added to our email notification list.


January 2013: English | En Español
January 2012: English | En Español

Project Managers

Mario Orso, Caltrans Corridor Director
Phone: (619) 688-2561, Email:

Jacqueline Appleton-Deane, Caltrans Project Manager
Phone: (619) 491-3080, Email:

Marney Cox, SANDAG Chief Economist
Phone: (619) 699-1930, Email:

Christina Casgar, SANDAG Goods Movement Policy Manager
Phone: (619) 699-1982, Email: