CALEXICO — The next phase of construction on a nearly $400 million renovation of the Calexico West Port of Entry is expected to begin in April and be completed in spring 2023, a federal official said recently.
The 36 months for
construction beats by six months an original timeline issued in 2019, said
Anthony Kleppe, a regional land port of entry program manager for the federal
General Services Administration overseeing the project.
“We will be seeing
activities on the ground in Calexico shortly,” he said in a Jan. 27 interview.
The $191 million phase 2A
of the downtown port project was funded in the 2018-19 federal budget. It
includes new vehicle inspection lanes with canopies and booths, and a new port
There had been no updates
on the project since August when the GSA reported it was seeking bids for a
project general contractor. That firm, Hensel Phelps, was chosen in October,
allowing the project to proceed, Kleppe added.
Among Phelps’ first tasks
was updating the project specifications. Also
involved was designer Perkins & Will Architects.
“What has been completed
is a design refresh. The original design was in 2012,” Kleppe said, describing
the process as “an internal review to ensure the design complied with GSA
requirements and the requirements of our client, the Department of Homeland
Asked what specifically
the review involved, Kleppe explained, “With (port operator U.S. Customs and
Border Protection) and evolving technology we want to make sure the
construction is consistent with building the best facility we can and meet the
travelling public’s needs for the next generations.”
The new facility needs
adequate electric power, data capacity and energy efficiency, he added,
stating, “There’s a lot of important technology that goes into CBP’s operation
and we want to make sure we have the infrastructure to support that technology.”
The plans review did not
alter the major components of the project and in fact caused the completion
timeline to be moved up, Kleppe noted. Originally, the project was expected to
take 42 months from GSA’s notice to proceed, according the website fedbizopps.gov, which provides
information on GSA projects for prospective bidders.
Next, in February, it is
anticipated there will be a 100 percent set of construction drawings, Kleppe
He said he did not know
if Phelps would hire local subcontractors.
phase 2A will include additional site work, five southbound non-commercial
vehicle inspection lanes with canopies and booths, six additional northbound
non-commercial vehicle inspection lanes with associated secondary inspection
facility, new pre-primary canopy, a new administration building, and new
parking structure for federal personnel.
While phase 2A of the
port project moves forward, the $85 million phase 2B, which includes a proposed
new pedestrian crossing, remains dead in the water. It was not funded in the
2019-20 federal budget despite being proposed in the U.S. House version of the annual
Though Imperial County
and Calexico officials have lobbied heavily for phase 2B, Kleppe said its delay
will not affect the progress or operations of phase 2A.
The $98 million phase
1 was completed in fall 2018. It includes news vehicle-crossing lanes, a
southbound bridge over the New River and a new headhouse. The project allowed the port to connect with Cesar Chavez
Boulevard instead of the long-used access from Imperial Avenue, a move local
officials agreed improved traffic flow.