New Ensenada ByPass Under Construction

Not so good for merchants

Clogged roads, congestion, potholes and bumps, Ensenada is working on a bypass to help frustrated travelers.

Who has not cursed that patched up stretch between Chapultepec and Maneadero, better known as “flight of death/tramo de muerte,”, especially at night. The holes in the road have often been replaced with bumps because of all the patching instead of proper repaving. Logic would dictate that it would make more sense to repave that stretch properly, rather than to continuously re patch it. And it seems that now logic is catching up. Ensenada mayor Gilberto Hirata, the SCT (Secretary of  Communications & Transportation), and the federal government provided $29 million for the modernization of the section between Chapultepec and Maneadero.

That’s all very good, but it’s not going to solve the congestion problem. Take for example: Reforma and Costero, the main arteries pumping traffic through the middle of the city. A rush hour in Ensenada is not the typical rush hour as we think of it in the United States. The field workers usually start around 6:00 AM, most schools begin their lessons around 8:00 AM, and most office- and store workers open up for business around 9:00 AM. Shoppers tend to come out around noon, just before traditional Mexican lunch time around 2:00 PM, which is also the time most students finish their classes. And this cycle starts again at 4:00 PM when most office workers drive back home, followed by the field workers around 6:00 PM, and it goes on like this for the whole day till late in the evening. So, it’s fair to say that rush hour in Ensenada is very much a day long phenomenon.

Now the good news. A time consuming and expensive project is underway that will bypass the city of Ensenada entirely, connecting El Sauzal with Maneadero. The goal of the project is to build a highway that will begin on the Tijuana-Ensenada free road and conclude south of Maneadero with connecting to the trans-peninsula highway. This road will be a big time saver as well as lowering the levels of frustration.

The bypass is intended to be a quick way to transport heavy cargo and will keep the big trucks out of the urban area. This will be of great benefit in the reduction of noise and air pollution, and, perhaps most significantly, to drivers of light vehicles that must deal with the damage to the roads caused by the heavy trucks.

The not so good news is the work is going slowly. The project started way back in 2008, and there is no  completion date in sight. Money tends to run faster than the progress on the road. Money is allocated year by year, not for the whole project. From 2008 to date 54 million dollars has been invested in the bypass, and now accounts for about 12 miles completed.

A finished section of the road, which includes two  bridges, is already as good as connected to Avenida Ruiz and a little further down to Rancho Verde. From there, an unpaved wide and leveled road and two half finished, already operational bridges go as far as to Montemar.

Cutting through rocky mountains, in addition to soil works, drainage construction, and the construction of the bridges complicate the pace of this project. This is not easy terrain to build a road on.

The bypass is a combined state and federal project that will have four lanes, gas stations and rest areas. For 2016’s budget, the mayor and local entrepreneurs will have to travel to Mexico City to beg for resources for another section to be completed in 2016.

Interested in traveling what’s finished? Head to the Ruta del Vino Highway #3 Ensenada-Tecate, past the industrial zone, and take the first ramp on the right. More information can be found on