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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Baja Highway Construction-Update




February 4, 2012 – We are on our way south to Cabo San Lucas with our next group after returning with our January Tour on February 1st. The construction continues on many sections of the Highway and real progress continues. Mexico should be very proud about how much improvement they have made on the Baja Hwy system over the past few years.

Highway 3: Tecate-Ensenada

They have made great progress on 10 km/6 miles of construction since we were last on this on December 18, 2011. Lots of resources have been committed to this project and it shows. Only 5km/3 miles of construction remains and this is very passable by rigs of all sizes, lots of new pavement and the gravel sections are graded and packed. We expect this will be complete when our last tour completes April 3, 2012.

Highway 19: Cabo San Lucas – Todos Santos

This is an amazing project for sure and the resources, both human and equipment, are substantial, our guess would be 1000 workers and 100 pieces of road building equipment. We have heard they are working on this 24/7 and want this completed in time for the G20 Summit in June of this year, hosted by Mexico, to be held in Cabo San Lucas. The difference between our drive at the end of November 2011 and January 21, 2012 was significant indeed. Only the major cuts and bridge construction sections remain in gravel, well graded and packed. The balance of the highway is paved, some with all 4 lanes completed, other sections only 2 lanes. We are confident this will be complete for June and look forward to seeing what they have accomplished when we are there again in 3 weeks.

Highway 1:

Santo Tomas KM 39-KM 49

We have seen immense progress on this project since November 5, 2011. The entire section is now paved, although not entirely complete, with the exception of the actual cut though the mountain at KM 44-KM 47 (best guess). You still must detour around this section, partially on the old road and switchback. We are confident that when we leave Baja with our last tour and drive this for the last time this season on April 2, 2012, we will drive on the new section that passes through the mountain. We can hardly wait!

Catavina: North & South

This has all been paved for some time now and now almost 100% complete. What is a bit puzzling and surprising is the new section south of Catavina where the new sections have developed potholes. We know little about the paving process, however can safely speculate that something went wrong with his particular project regarding the re-pavement aspects. The good news is we have seen road crews repairing many of these sections and the road surface is once again improving. Those that drive this section often will recall this was once the crappiest section of Hwy 1 for many years.

Jesus Maria

Our first experience on this 8KM/5 Mile section, between the Military Check Point and Jesus Maria, was in early November 2011 and was brutal to say the least. The detour was for “Gringos Only” and the worst Baja gravel road we had been on for years. It was like driving to the San Javier Mission before it was paved! We are pleased to report that everyone is now detoured off the section in construction and the gravel road is in great shape, well graded and flat. We were safely and comfortably driving 30KM/20 Miles per hour on this section. Progress on this section seems quite slow with only a few pieces of equipment a couple of crews ever spotted on the site. What is up with this? Who knows for sure, we will see how things are coming in a week when we return south.