SR-11 & Otay Mesa East Port of Entry Program
HELIX provided environmental consulting services to evaluate the general alignment locations for State Route (SR-) 11 and a future land port of entry and commercial vehicle enforcement facility in south San Diego County at the U.S./Mexico border, plus associated improvements to SR-905 and the SR-905/SR-125/SR-11 Interchange. HELIX’s role in this project began in 2000, working jointly with SANDAG and Caltrans, to complete an Environmental Constraints Analysis in support of the Project Study Report (PSR), addressing cultural resources, hazardous materials, and biological resources within study areas of 400 to 1,000 acres. Biology surveys included vegetation mapping, wetland delineation, and surveys of burrowing owls, coastal California gnatcatchers, rare plants, and fairy shrimp (both dry and wet seasons, and 150 basins). Final work products included a cultural resources extended phase I study, archaeological survey report, hazardous waste initial site assessment, jurisdictional delineation report, and biology existing conditions report. The project was shelved following 9/11 and was renewed in 2006 with a two-tier environmental compliance process. The Programmatic/Tier I EIR/EIS was completed by HELIX in 2008, resulting in the selection of a preferred alignment and U.S. State Department approval of the Presidential Permit for the new border crossing. In 2012, HELIX completed a Project-level/Tier II EIR/EIS to evaluate alternatives and select a preferred project design. The project was completed on an accelerated schedule to meet funding obligations. HELIX participated in interagency workgroups, prepared all public notices (including Spanish translations), and assisted in planning and executing public meetings. The natural environment study, community impact assessment, noise study report, and visual impact assessment for the Tier II EIR/EIS were also prepared by HELIX staff. In 2013, the National Association of Environmental Professionals presented HELIX with the “National Environmental Excellence” Award for NEPA Excellence for this project.