Powering Up The Largest Land Port On Earth

With outdated facilities and a growing Southern California and Baja population, the old San Ysidro Land Port of Entry (SYLPOE) was becoming too cumbersome to attend to the astonishing 102,000 people who cross the border on a daily basis between Mexico and the United States. In 2011, The General Services Administration (GSA) called for a massive redevelopment of the border crossing, not only to improve operational efficiency, but to take advantage of the advancements in technology for a more secure/safe border and create a more sustainable facility.

From the moment Bergelectric got the green light to be a part of the SYLPOE project, we knew that this was not a typical electrical installation. Not just because of the GSA’s lofty ambitions—a massive 227,000-gross-s.f. of new construction to increase the vehicle traffic in San Ysidro by 87% over the next 15-years—but because the port was to remain open and fully operational throughout the entire construction schedule.

In addition to installing conduit infrastructure and providing medium-voltage service for the four-level operations building and narcotics building, Bergelectric was responsible for specialty conduit and wiring for the 25 primary inspection lanes and the first-ever double-stacked inspection booths. The SYLPOE is now considered to be the “Port of the Future”—designed to substantially reduce wait times at the busiest international border crossing on earth.

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Technical Considerations
The San Ysidro Land Port of Entry project called for some unusual challenges—including many “firsts” for Bergelectric. For instance, the electrical underground design required Bergelectric to dig directly underneath the north bound and the south bound lanes of Interstate 5 (I-5). To accomplish this feat, Bergelectric’s specialized crew had to work night-shifts to ensure lighter traffic on the interstate. Traffic control was provided in order to close off necessary lanes, incrementally, as Bergelectric made their way across one of Southern California’s busiest interstates.

Bergelectric was also tasked with trenching and installing underground electrical systems across main pedestrian areas including the Trolley station. All areas, including the trolley, remained in full operation during this installation. Though we were working on replacing facilities that date back to the early 1900’s, Bergelectric’s precise underground installation crew recorded zero (0) utility strikes during the entire course of the project—a remarkable achievement in these conditions.

Size
227,000-square feet
50 Acres

Electrical Construction Cost
$16.3 Million

Duration
May 2011 – December 2014

Delivery Method
Design-Bid-Build

LEED
Platinum

Other Team Members
Hensel Phelps
URS Group
Miller Hull Partnership
Interface Engineers

Berg Regional Office
San Diego

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