Mexican Coastal Highway Collapses After Quakes, Rain

Mexico Federal Highway 1D may be closed for the next few weeks

The main toll road between Tijuana and Ensenada has closed after a 300-yard section of highway collapsed Saturday.

Mexico’s federal highway authority said the damage happened about 10 miles north of Ensenada and 58 miles south of Tijuana on coastal Federal Highway 1D, according to The Associated Press.

Several small earthquakes, ranging in magnitude from 1.3 to 4.3, combined with heavy rainfall caused the road to crumble, the agency said.

No one was injured in the collapse, but travelers will have to take a detour inland on a two-lane, toll-free highway.

Keith Rolle, founder of the Baja California Language College, said his students depend on Highway 1D to take them to Ensenada. They typically fly into San Diego and take a bus to the Baja for a one- to five-week Spanish immersion course.

The students who traveled south on Sunday told Rolle the collapse added about 45 minutes to their trip.

Rolle said when he heard about the damage, he was not surprised.

"I’ve driven back and forth from Ensenada over 700 times in the past 16 years and have gone over that particular route and that particular patch of land and have seen shifts -- sometimes 2 or 3 inches, sometimes bigger,” said Rolle. “So that’s a very active fault line right there perched right on the cliffs.”

While his college’s operations have not seen major delays yet, Rolle expects traffic to back up as commercial trucks travel north on the steeply graded detour road.

Ensenada’s role as a major port city means large containers make land there and are often shipped to Tijuana.

“It’s going to take a lot of patience,” said Rolle. “These trucks are going to really clog that one and only artery between Tijuana and Ensenada, and it’s going to be tough sledding.”

Authorities said the highway will likely be closed for the next few weeks.

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