SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Starting Saturday night, four cargo truck lanes at the Otay Mesa Cargo Facility will be open to passenger vehicles entering the country, to help ease weekend holiday traffic, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said Saturday.
The Otay Mesa passenger port of entry will increase its ability to process U.S.-bound passenger vehicles by supplementing traffic lanes at the border crossing tonight and Sunday and again Jan. 5-6, according to spokeswoman Angelica De Cima.
"We worked to staff CBP officers during these two weekends in an effort to alleviate high levels of traffic during the holiday season," said Pete Flores, director of field operations for San Diego and Imperial counties.
"We are pleased that the cargo facility could be employed efficiently and securely to temporarily extend the number of passenger lanes leading into the U.S."
The governments of the United States and Mexico planned to work together to route northbound traffic through the Mexican customs export lot into the Otay Mesa Cargo Facility from about 5 p.m. each day until around midnight, De Cima said.
The conversions were scheduled to begin after commercial cargo processing at the facilities ends about 4 p.m. Cargo lots on both sides of the border usually process commercial shipments from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and holidays, according to De Cima.
Mexican police officials will be stationed in the northbound lanes and will direct waiting traffic into the cargo truck lanes leading to the Mexican customs export lot. Traffic will then head north into the U.S. cargo import lot where four temporary processing lanes will be set up, De Cima said.
Officials at the temporary station will be able to issue I-94 permits for Mexican travelers and will staff agricultural specialists to inspect plants or food products, De Cima said.