My latest report from an experienced “off-roader” on the Gonzaga – Coco’s Corner – Chapala road yesterday indicates that a 2wd Tacoma can make the trip without much trouble. There was no gasoline available at Gonzaga.
Highway construction trucks are everywhere and the road is very silty. Dust will get in everything, check your air filters. You will likely have to lower your tire pressure after the construction zone to get a better grip. Coco’s is OK.
Virtually all major roads in the northern part of the State of Baja California are open and in good condition. The Puertecitos-San Felipe-Mexicali road is fine. The Ensenada-San Felipe road is OK – watch for potholes.
The one concern is the Tijuana-Ensenada scenic toll road which continues to be closed south of La Mision. Repair on the landslide area of the highway south of Salsipuedes continues but it appears that further instabilities have been observed. The long-term viability of this stretch of road for all but the lightest of traffic is in question.
As of now, the road is still scheduled to re-open to traffic in December but the State is also looking at starting construction next year of a 24 km, 4-lane, $2 billion peso bypass from Bajamar running inland and parallel to the route of the old road to Ensenada.
The Tijuana-Ensenada tollway is a critical part of the state and federal infrastructure, not just for the tourist trade but for all major commercial shipments between the California border and the rest of the peninsular. Reportedly some 10,000 goods vehicles per day are having to use the slow and circuitous old road to Ensenada and points south.
Planning is also accelerating on the Mexicali – Transpeninsular highway corridor to provide an alternative route for commerce with Southern Baja. I think we will see a significant increase in pace of construction of the Bahia San Luis Gonzaga- Chapala highway in the coming year.
The implication is that heavy goods traffic will start flowing through San Felipe in 2016 and we really need a bypass of the town, along the old Puertecitos road. For the future, it is critical to plan alternative routes away from the coast which will be at risk to rising sea levels and storms like Odile.
The State is now emphasizing that for Bahia de Los Angeles, the local air strip must be upgraded and prepared for immediate use in situations like the emergency with Hurricane Odile in September. With the heavy and expensive damage to the BdeLA highway and its continued vulnerability to future storms, air access for tourism and commerce has become high priority.