EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Mexican officials say they are ready to proceed with major improvements around the San Jeronimo-Santa Teresa port of entry.

The port is one of the fastest-growing commercial border crossings in the southern border and has become a top economic engine in Southern New Mexico. But trucks coming from Juarez’s manufacturing plants or from the interior of Mexico often must share worn access roads with passenger vehicles. This leads to traffic tie-ups and potential accidents.

The improvements include expanding the San Jeronimo Highway from two lanes to four from the port to Mexico Federal Highway 2, a redesign of access roads and Mexican customs inspection areas, and the creation of a hazardous cargo lane, Chihuahua state officials said.

The National Customs Agency this week presented a modernization plan which could be implemented eight to 12 months after final approval, according to Chihuahua Economic Development Secretary Maria Angelica Granados.

The City of Juarez will finance at least 50% of the improvements, City Secretary Hector Ortiz Orpinel said. “We are happy to support initiatives that involve not only our city and our state, but that highlight the binational relevance of our border,” he said.

On the U.S. side, industry leaders welcomed the announcement.

“We are very excited because that road (San Jeronimo Highway) is carrying more traffic than ever and it’s in need of being upgraded and modernized. So, it’s good to hear them announce it,” said Jerry Pacheco, president and CEO of the Santa Teresa-based Border Trade Association.

Passenger cars and commercial trucks approaching the Santa Teresa port of entry from the Mexican side often have to share the access road. (Border Report photo)

In Santa Teresa, the federal government has green-lighted a feasibility study for expansion and modernization. Some work has been done already to accommodate the passage of large, metallic blades for wind turbines, to X-ray truck cargo and to deal with chemical spills.

The improvements on the Mexican side are paramount to bringing more truck traffic, which amounts to more imports, exports and economic activity, Pacheco said.

No date was given for the start of the work.