San Diego International Airport

San Diego Airport Traffic Nightmare, Round 2?

Detours being Saturday at 6 p.m. near the San Diego airport

It's important to keep your cool when faced with detour delays at San Diego International Airport.
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Trying to get to the airport this weekend or next week? In some cases, maybe don't.

Two separate closure announcements came on Friday, adding steam to the traffic pressure cooker that is the surface streets near San Diego International Airport.

Things began to get bad at the airport in June, when the pedestrian bridge connecing Terminal 1 with ground transportation was torn down. Construction began June 5 and will take place through the end of 2024, which has officials urging passengers to plan ahead for getting to and from the terminal, and some new wrinkles this coming Saturday and this week won't help matters.

At least through Friday, traffic near Terminal 1 will be congested and parking will be limited. NBC 7's Joe Little has more from the airport.

The latest headaches begin Saturday at 6 p.m. with lane closures at Harbor Drive and Harbor Island Drive impacting access to Terminal 1.

Here Are the Detours

  • Drivers headed east on Harbor Drive will have to drive PAST Terminal 1 and make a U-turn at Winship Lane in order to access Terminal
  • People headed north on Harbor Island Drive will need to make a right turn onto Harbor Drive (heading eastbound), then make a U-turn at Winship Lane to access Terminal 1
  • Also, motorists leaving Terminal 1 who have to circle around and re-access the terminal roadway will need to make a left onto Harbor Drive going east, then, you guessed it, make a U-turn at Winship Lane to access Terminal 1 again
  • Pedestrians headed to Terminal 1 from Harbor Island will need to walk east on Harbor Drive, cross the street at Liberator way, then go west to Terminal 1
  • MTS Bus 923 riders will have to get off at Harbor Island and walk over to Terminal 1. Riders on the 992, however, can still get dropped off (or picked up) at Terminal 1

Terminal 1 Services These Airlines

  • Frontier Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Spirit Airlines
  • Sun Country Airlines

The lane closures will run through Sunday at 6 a.m., officials said.

We're still not done: If you're driving to the airport between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. from Sunday, July 31, through Thursday, Aug. 4, you'll want to plan to avoid state Route 163 near the airport. Caltrans will be doing work, prompting the closure on both the southbound and northbound connectors with Interstate 5. Crews will be repairing damage done last year during a water-main break.

AND: This will also prompt the closure of the I-5 off-ramp to Hawthorne Street.

Construction at the San Diego International Airport will be causing delays for travelers. NBC 7's Audra Stafford explains what's to expect.

Here Are Ways Around It

  • Northbound SR-163 to northbound I-5: Continue north on SR-163 to westbound Interstate 8 to northbound I-5
  • Southbound SR-163 to northbound I-5: Exit onto 10th Avenue, turn left on A Street and left onto 11th Street to northbound SR-163 to northbound I-5
  • North I-5 to Hawthorn Street/San Diego International Airport: Continue on northbound I-5 to India Street via the Sassafras Street off-ramp, turn left onto Sassafras Street, left onto Pacific Highway, and right on West Laurel Street to North Harbor Drive, following the signs to San Diego International Airport

As bad an experience as that may all sound, it probably pales in comparison with what nearby residents will undergo, what with the noise and lights overnight and the "Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) required vehicle back-up alarms."

And just think: All this before you arrive at the airport for what's been a notoriously bad travel season.

The construction at the airport will make way for a new Terminal 1 Parking Plaza anticipated to open in late 2024, as well as a new on-airport roadway that will divert westbound traffic from Harbor Drive onto the airport property.

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