A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.

April 18, 2012

¬°Salsipuedes! Ground beneath parts of Tijuana-Ensenada toll road is shifting, causing need for major repairs

If ever you thought you were overpaying your toll to go from Tijuana to Ensenada, you're not. Indeed, traffic on the Tecate-Tijuana toll road may be helping keep the Tijuana-Ensenada toll costs down

Salsipuedes, which means "Get out if you can," may be an appropriate name for an area along the Tijuana-Ensenada Scenic Road whose earth has been shifting.

Kilometers 88 to 97, which includes Salsipuedes, have seen shifting Miguel-Angel-Niebla of the earth that is necessitating major repairs to the toll road, a Federal Highways and Bridges (Capufe) agency official told Tijuana's Madrugadores group. Capufe representative Miguel Angel Niebla said land is shifting an average of two centimeters every three days around Salsipuedes. Some movement has to do with a fault line and other movement just due to the highway being built on land near sea cliffs.

Other areas of the scenic road also are experiencing problems. On Sunday, five homes carretera escenica workman kilometer 93 uneven pavementnear the highway were damaged when the land beneath them slipped and southbound lanes from kilometers 46 to 52 south of Rosarito were closed as a precautionary measure. Luis Mendoza Garcilazo, a researcher at Ensenada's Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education, told the Madrugadores de Playas de Tijuana group that the damage to homes in the Ladrillera Pescador area is likely due to improper drainage. El Mexicano, in an editorial, lamented that homes have been built in many areas along the road where they never should have been. Editorial, El Mexicano (PDF).
Photo: A workman at Kilometer 93, April 2012. The road has bumps in it to get vehicles to slow down before they hit an area of uneven pavement.

Niebla said the Tijuana-Ensenada road has been paying for itself. Still, it is not clear that will be the case with the major work that is upcoming. He said on average, 10,000 vehicles travel between Tijuana and Rosarito and 12,000 between Rosarito and Ensenada, with 14,000 on weekends. He said that on the Sunday before Easter, the number went up to 18,000. Considering that the price also includes insurance, towing and health care, the trip, considering the views, may be a bargain. He indicated that income from the Tijuana-Tecate toll road might wind up paying for some of the costs for the Tijuana-Ensenada road.

He said major repairs are expected to begin in May or June, and said the free road from Tijuana needs to be in good shape in case the toll road has to be briefly closed for repairs.

Mexico's federal, state and local governments, in their ultimate wisdom, have shut down many web pages so that information on them cannot be interpreted as favoring one political party over another in the runup to the July 2012 presidential election. So if you, say, want to see the toll you would have to pay on the Tijuana-Ensenada Scenic Road, you cannot. Capufe's toll webpage.

Update, Dec. 28, 2013: Land gives way under both northbound and southbound lanes of the scenic road around Kilometer 93, causing the toll road to be closed; traffic was diverted to the free road.

carretera escenica kilomter 93 warning signs

Kilometer 93 signs warn of uneven pavement and danger of falling objects.

carretera escenica pavement is constantly cracking carretera escenica uneven pavement sign

Salsipuedes sign

The pavement is always cracking at certain areas along the toll road. "Uneven pavement" signs often warn of the dangers.

Salsipuedes Bay

Bay at Salsipuedes.

playas de tijuana toll booth

Playas de Tijuana toll booths.