Otay Mesa truck processing lanes nearly double

April 20, 2022

Land Line Staff


While the border situation for truckers in Texas is experiencing some congestion, the federal government is relieving congestion at the Otay Mesa land port of entry in California.

On Tuesday, the U.S. General Services Administration and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ­­– Customs and Border Protection hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Otay Mesa port of entry to celebrate the completion of a major improvement project. For truckers, that means faster processing times.

The $134 million project modernizes and expands the 51-acre Otay Mesa port of entry. According to the General Services Administration, the project includes commercial improvements on the truck inspection portion of the port, delivering infrastructure improvements which expand processing capacity, grow the region’s economy and protect the climate.

“The improvements GSA is making continue to speed the importation of just-in-time shipments into the U.S., reduce wait times and vehicle emissions, and improve the supply chain by eliminating long-standing vehicular conflicts within the facility that have hampered commercial flows for decades,” said GSA’s Acting Regional Administrator Dan Brown in a statement.

Specific to trucking, the number of truck processing lanes at Otay Mesa increased from nine to 16 lanes.

Otay Mesa rendering commercial traffic
Otay Mesa rendering commercial traffic. Truck processing lanes increased from nine to 16 lanes. (Photo courtesy of Atkinson/Clark JV, Gruen Associates, & Jones Studio)

Not counting disruptions caused by the pandemic, truck crossings at Otay Mesa are increasing. According to Customs and Border Protection, there were nearly 1 million cargo truck crossings in 2019. That number fell by more than 50,000 in 2020, only to increase by more than 100,000 crossings last year.

In terms of money, trucks imported $34 billion of goods through San Diego County port in 2019, followed by a slight dip to $32 billion in 2020 and rising to $37 billion last year. Otay Mesa is California’s busiest commercial port.

Tuesday’s celebration marks the completion of a segment of a larger project. Completion of the overall modernization and expansion project is scheduled for next spring. Additionally, improvements will be made for pedestrian travelers, employees, visitors and bus inspections:

  • Construction of a commercial annex building.
  • Relocation of Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection enrollment facilities.
  • Relocation of hazardous material commercial import processing.

To accommodate the 3.6 million annual pedestrian crossings, pedestrian lanes will double from six to 12 to improve processing capacity.

Similar projects at other ports may be on the horizon. The more than $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act allocates more than $3 billion to the General Services Administration for 26 major modernization and construction projects at land ports of entry along the U.S. border with Mexico and Canada. LL