[UPDATED with proposed alternative, Dec. 29, 8 p.m., and map of affected area, Dec. 28, 6 p.m.]
[ORIGINAL ARTICLE, Dec. 28, 4 p.m.]:A section of the toll road leading from Tijuana to Ensenada collapsed more than 300 feet toward the ocean early this morning, which is leading to lengthy detours along the smaller, less-traveled free road.
The collapse happened at kilometer 93 just south of Salsipuedes following a magnitude 4.6 earthquake on December 20 along Federal Highway 3 between Ensenada and San Felipe. The road has been unstable for many years and was known for its rough surface and low speed limit; it slipped about a foot on December 27, and then collapsed nearly 350 feet in the early hours of December 28.
There were no reports of injuries or fatalities, though there were vehicles in the vicinity.
Drivers are being diverted off the toll road at La Fonda and directed onto the free road. The free road is a two-lane, very hilly and windy road with switchbacks; delays of one to two hours are being reported. Be very vigilant in the town of La Misión for speed bumps. The free road rejoins the transpeninsular highway at San Miguel, about 3 miles north of Ensenada. Travelers bound for the Valle de Guadalupe should turn left at the sign for the Ruta Vinícola off the free road, rather than going all the way to San Miguel and coming back on Federal Highway 3.
Another alternative is to cross the U.S.-Mexico border at Tecate and drive south on Federal Highway 3 through the Valle de las Palmas and the Valle de Guadalupe; this road is also under construction. Be careful in Tecate; the police are very strict about traffic laws.
A person answering the telephone at the State Directorate of Civil Protection (DEPC) in Mexicali, who refused to be identified, said that the road may not be finished collapsing, that repairs will not be able to start until after the rainy season, and they are likely to take a long time to complete.
[UPDATE, Dec. 28, 6 p.m.]: A Google Map of the affected area is located here.
[UPDATE, Dec. 29, 8 p.m.]: The Civil Engineers' College of Ensenada has suggested that an alternative route could be built from the Bajamar exit at kilometer 77 to the free road at kilometer 78, the El Vigía newspaper reported. There is currently a packed-dirt road on the east side of the exit, and approximately 5 kilometers of new road would need to be built. This would eliminate the most difficult stretch of the free road and could be done for 55 million pesos ($4.2 million) in less than two months, according to the civil engineers. The proposed alternative has been added to the map linked above.