As one of the busiest land ports in the world, the San Ysidro U.S.
Land Port of Entry Phase 1B was a crucial project to strengthen security and
anti-terrorism efforts for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). AGC
contractor Hensel Phelps was tasked with transforming the outdated 30-year-old site
of rambling buildings into a functional and sustainable facility during the
24/7/365 operations of this very active border crossing.
The $182 million, 191,000-sq.-ft. project was a sequential step in
the overall San Ysidro U.S. Land Port of Entry Expansion and Reconfiguration
Project, whose ultimate goal is to provide a more efficient and secure port,
resulting in an improved traveler experience. The Phase 1B portion of the
project included demolition and construction to facilitate a new headhouse
building, northbound primary canopies and booths, northbound canopies and secondary
booths, partial construction of a narcotics building, and other site work.
Hensel Phelps broke ground on the project in February of 2011 and
completed the complex job in December 2014.
Oscar Preciado, Program Manager for the San Ysidro Port Construction
Project, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, had high praises for the con-
tractor’s performance on a project that offered many challenges for all
“Hensel Phelps is a valuable team member on a project equivalent
to changing a flat tire while driving on a freeway at 90 miles per hour,”
Preciado said. “Their cooperation, responsiveness, and can-do attitude made a
complex construction project progress efficiently and with optimal results.”
Since construction crews were separated from the traffic by no
more than k-rail, work was phased and staged to maintain northbound and
southbound operations at the Port at all times. Throughout construction, the
Port continued to process an average of 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound
pedestrians per day. In the end, the project significantly improved border
crossing wait times from Tijuana, Mexico to San Diego, with the average wait
time dropping from more than three hours to less than 20 minutes.
An additional challenge was the project goal of attempting LEED
platinum, net-zero energy, and net-zero non-potable water. The Hensel Phelps
team rose to the challenges with the implementation of sustainable features
including a 300,000-gallon rainwater reclamation system and on-site sewage
treatment, 1.53MW photovoltaic array, and a solar- thermal water system.
Photo Credits: Hensel Phelps and Mikki Piper Imaging