Road Conditions

Road Conditions Updates

February Update on the San Felipe – Mexicali Highway

The road between Mexicali and San Felipe is now in the final stages of being finished after 8 years of construction. The bridge maintenance across the Laguna Salada is complete and the last stretch of roadway south of La Ventana is being paved at this time.


Paving in process just south of La Ventana

You can now drive on an asphalt surface all the way from Mexicali to San Felipe! Long stretches of new asphalt need center line and shoulder striping, so be very careful if you drive after dusk as it is extremely difficult to see where the edge of the new road is.

The defunct hospitality center at the junction with the Ensenada Road is being reworked and perhaps the old cafe will be re-activated to provide a place for the weary traveler to get a cold brew on a broiling day when crossing the desert.

January Report. Hwy 5 Mexicali – San Felipe

The Mexicali road is now in a state where vehicles do not have to leave the asphalt and venture over rocks. More work to do but basically it is now clear driving between San Felipe and Mexicali.


On travel matters in Baja, it seems that the break of the Tijuana-Ensenada highway is having a major impact on transportation all down the Peninsular and could cause problems for the Baja 250 and 500 races. There is now enormous pressure to get the Mexicali road into full operation to reroute a lot of the heavy transportation vehicles down to La Paz.

Extreme Precautions Due To Scenic Toll Road Closure Near Ensenada


ENSENADA, B.C.- Saturday 28, 2013.- The Baja California State Goverment is informing that due to natural causes and a series of recent minor earthquares, a
portion of the scenic toll road precisely at kilometer 93.4 suffered damage causing its closure. Traveling in a northerly direction from Ensenada to Tijuana the non toll highway should be taken exiting in la misión where Access to the scenic “toll road” is available as usual.

By the same criteria, traveling north- south from Tijuana or Rosarito to Ensenada he exit is in La Mision where traffic is beind diverted through the area known as “El Tigre”.

Another alternative is to travel on federal highway #3 Tecate to Ensenada or the Ensenada – San Felipe to travel to Mexicali. The Tourism Secretariat calls to travelers to use due precautions and obey signage and indications from the traffic officers whom are currently working to ease the flow of traffic.

For additional Tourism Activity Information in Ensenada or the rest of Baja California, travelers can dial the 078 hot line information number.

Report Sent by:

Rolando Ortiz Gomez de Silva

Coordinador Ejecutivo del
Aeropuerto Internacional San Felipe
Telf. (686) 577 0180

December 7th Update on Hwy 5 Road Conditions

Challenging road conditions continue….

Work on the road from Mexicali to San Felipe continues. The five bridges over the Laguna Salada causeway are “essentially finished”. This means that you still have to detour onto desert surfaces left in terrible condition by the rains of the past two weeks even though you can clearly see that, at least for the three northernmost bridges, the work is complete and locals are bypassing the barriers and staying on the paved surfaces. The two southern bridges will likely also be finished by the time you read this. I can only assume that some grand opening celebration is planned for later, and in the meantime the authorities are doing their bit to boost the business for local tire repair and bodywork shops.

South of La Ventana, the work is hectic, however the goal of a “December” completion looks unlikely. Conditions for the tourist are chaotic as construction vehicles and private vehicles fight to use the same path through the mountain pass that is still being cut and graded. There is no traffic control and you can find a huge earth-mover swinging across the road and backing up right to the bumper of your car. Nobody seems to have a clue as to where to go.

South of La Ventana

South of La Ventana

Indeed, there is a very good chance that you will end up on a stretch of road still being paved (below), as I did yesterday because of lack of traffic control.


After 2 miles, I had to turn round and go back to the chaos at the mountain pass construction area. (Don’t attempt to turn onto the “real road” on the left hand side in the above picture – there is a 2-3 foot drop at the edge of the asphalt.) Rule of thumb: if you come to a junction and have a choice of driving on a bad road or a worse one, take the worse one.

Hwy. 5 Road Condition Update: Detours for Bridge Construction – November 2013

Hwy. 5 between Mexicali and San Felipe is still in the process of construction as the highway is overhauled. Now, there are 4 short offroad detours around KM 75 – 81 as pieces of the road are widened and bridges over washes and flash flood areas are built.

One of the bridges going in.

One of the bridges going in.

There is also a longer detour stretching about 3 miles that starts at about KM 109, at La Ventana, where heavy machines are working to carve into the mountain and widen the road.

Excavators and bulldozers working to carve out space in the rock.

Excavators and bulldozers working to carve out space in the rock.

The detours are fairly hard-packed, but there are a few ruts and loose rocks that find their way into the makeshift road, so slow down, and take your time to make it through safely. Drive carefully and don’t rush through the work areas – it may add a few extra minutes to your travel time, but it’ll be easier on your vehicle and safer for everyone on the road, and besides, San Felipe is known as a place to take it easy, slow down and not rush anyway.

A big bridge going in before La Ventana

A big bridge going in before La Ventana

Safe travels and see you here soon! Also, welcome to all of our visitors for the Baja 1000!

Update on the roadworks between Mexicali and San Felipe

Roadworks continue between Mexicali and San Felipe. When you cross the Laguna Salada (km60-90) you will encounter five new bridges being built. In each case, the diversion on to the desert hardpack is only a few hundred meters but watch out for sharp rocks that can damage your tires.

South of La Ventana (km106) a large bridge is under construction and massive, mountain-cutting operations are underway.
Bridge construction south of La Ventana

Bridge construction south of La Ventana


Mountain-moving operations

Mountain-moving operations

In places, the temporary roadbed is very narrow and single line traffic is being implemented. Be prepared to wait for the flagmen to tell you when to move.

Other than these areas, the highway is in good condition and does not appear to have been damaged by the September rainstorms. You will notice that the desert has turned green as a result of the rains.
Once you get to San Felipe, you will find that many local roads have suffered damage from the storms and potholes are developing everywhere. Be particularly careful if you drive south past the Marina Resort towards the airport. The road edges are crumbling badly and there are potholes that can be a few inches deep.

The Current State Of Highway Projects

Baja East Coast

As mentioned in La Crónica newspaper on September 4 2013, the Communications and Transportation Secretariat (SCT) has delivered a brief informing about their plans regarding the road development for this part of Baja California in the following 6 years.

Currently there are 2 federal road projects being executed, the Mexicali – San Felipe highway and the San Felipe – Laguna Chapala highway.

One of the intentions behind these projects is to increase and motivate the flow of heavy trucks loading cargo coming from Baja South through San Felipe to avoid detouring on to Ensenada and Tijuana in order to reach Mexicali.

The second goal is to benefit the Real Estate industry and bring an important impulse to Tourism and positively impact the region between San Felipe and Laguna Chapala.

Current state of highway projects

1. Mexicali-San Felipe

This project has an approved budget of 112 million pesos for 2013. Covering the area from Ejido Durango at kilometer 38 to kilometer 190 in San Felipe. According to the SCT representative Jorge Cháirez Guerra from BC SCT, 80% of this project has been executed already and they are willing to have it fully operational by December. Although the projected first detour at kilometer 72 which implies the building of three bridges and the section corresponding from kilometer 106 to the 111 has an advance of only  55%.

About kilometer 110 there will be a modification made to the curve which requires to cut into the hillside and it was projected to be done on September 2.

This section has already received an investment of 313 million pesos and it covers a distance of 146.4 kilometers. The works were started in 2007 by the state government and were  then attributed to the federal government the following year.

2. San Felipe-Laguna Chapala

This project is formed by three sections. The first one goes from San Felipe to Puertecitos from kilometer 0 to the 75 and it is a 2 lane highway that might get upgraded depending on use. This section is considered as finished by SCT.

The second section goes from Puertecitos to San Luis Gonzaga passing through El Huerfanito and covers from kilometer 75 to kilometer 146. This section is considered as finished by SCT.

And lastly we have the third section that goes from San Luis Gonzaga to Laguna Chapala, kilometers 146 through 201. This section hasn’t been  built yet. According to Efraín Arias Velásquez another SCT representative the investment required will be of 1,250 million pesos to cover a distance of 201 kilometers.

Federal government contemplates this project will take at least the following six years for completion and implies the construction of ten bridges from which 5 have been already done.

Currently the Mexicali – San Felipe highway has a daily average use of 705 cars which is an increase from last year’s average of 405.

Thank you for your interest in this information.

Screen shot 2013-09-05 at 5.02.45 PM

Original source: La Crónica de Mexicali.

English version by SANFELIPE.COM.MX

Mexicali – San Felipe Road Report – UPDATED August 30, 2013

The highway is still in fine condition for Labor Day weekend and Ceviche Fest travelers, even after Thursday, August 29th’s rains! The detours were all re-compacted late on Thursday night and it has been confirmed that Hwy. 5 is in good condition. Have a safe trip down everyone!

The Mexicali – San Felipe Hwy 5 currently has a small section under construction as bridges are being built over washes and the section around La Ventana is being redone. There are a few detours, however they are all very brief (under a mile) and well-maintained.

Passing through La Ventana area

Passing through La Ventana area

These photos were taken before the rains over the weekend, but it has been officially confirmed that the roads and detour sections are still in good condition, and should not pose a problem for cars with lower clearance.


Construction starting on one of the bridges.

Drive carefully and slow down through the construction areas. Plan your trip so that you will be able to make the drive in the daytime.


Another future bridge.

Another future bridge.

Have a safe drive and San Felipe awaits you!

July 27th Road Conditions Update – More Hwy. 5 Construction

Road construction is underway again on the road from Mexicali to San Felipe, requiring you to make a diversion off the paved road for a few kilometers as shown below. Currently, the diversion is well graded and the summer traffic is sparse.

The temporary road shown when heading south from La Ventana to San Felipe.

The temporary road shown when heading south from La Ventana to San Felipe.

The new construction zone is from La Ventana to just north of the gold mine. This section south of km 100 is possibly the most challenging of the entire highway project that started in 2006 because it involves widening the mountain pass beside the hill with the microwave towers. The fiber optic cable between San Felipe and Mexicali has been dug up and is suspended on telephone poles to keep it from being damaged during the blasting process.

Overview of the Construction Areas

Overview of the Construction Areas