San Diego — Kleinfelder was honored with an Engineering Excellence Award from ACEC California for work completed on the Cross Border Xpress (CBX) Terminal Building and Pedestrian Skybridge connecting San Diego and Tijuana. The binational project spans the U.S./Mexico border and directly connects a new terminal building in San Diego to the Tijuana International Airport (TIJ), making TIJ the only airport in the world with terminals in two countries.

CBX is a high-profile, high-security project toll crossing for ticketed airline passengers offering a direct, convenient connection for TIJ passengers traveling to or from southern California. The bridge allows passengers flying into or out of Tijuana International Airport to circulate across the international border between two terminal buildings, enabling them to avoid unpredictable border wait times and often- lengthy delays at congested land ports of entry at San Ysidro or Otay Mesa. The airport can handle up to 10 million passengers per year and 360 flights per day.

“This extraordinary project is one of a kind and we are honored to be recognized by ACEC California,” said Dan Harpstead, Chief Technical Officer at Kleinfelder, the San Diego-based engineering firm that designed the bridge and oversaw its development. “The project has been extremely beneficial to travelers since it opened during the 2015 holiday season, and more than 600,000 passengers have already used it.”

The project’s owner, Otay-Tijuana Venture, LLC, placed considerable importance on creating a cost- effective structure that emphasized aesthetics and functionality. The $120 million project required tight collaboration with multiple stakeholders, including bi-national and bilingual coordination between the design team and contractors on both sides of the border. Moreover, engineering a building within a bridge structure across international lines required that engineers design the project to satisfy both building and bridge specifications. Additional features such as moving walkways, lights, mechanical systems, fire life safety, and HVAC added complexity to the structure.

Kleinfelder’s bridge design consisted of a pair of steel through-trusses with three simply-supported spans ranging from approximately 115 to 150 feet. In addition to ensuring the integrity of the crossing, this was the optimal solution to accommodate limited site-accessibility and maintain the Tijuana terminal operations during construction. The bridge is supported on four reinforced concrete pier walls and cast- in-drilled-hole concrete piles, all designed to fit aesthetically in the structure’s overall look and feel.

Kleinfelder was instrumental to the successful completion of this complex bridge project, which blends engineering and construction excellence with bi-national collaboration. Kleinfelder’s integrated bridge and geotechnical expertise proved critical for moving the project swiftly from its initial phase of development through completion. Not only was the project completed on-time and on-budget, but it also meets the structural and aesthetic requirements of stakeholders and agencies in both the U.S. and Mexico.

Additional information about the Cross Border Xress Terminal Building and Pedestrian Skybridge can be found at