The state of Sonora in Mexico will soon be open to more tourists than ever before. Construction of the new Sonoran Coastal Highway is well underway that will provide folks from the great American west a new way to reach all of the sun, sand and surf that Sonora has to offer.
The new highway, dubbed the Gulf Coast Highway or “La Costera” by Sonoran officials, is being constructed in 4 different phases. The project began in 2006 and is scheduled for completion by 2010. When completed the $200 million highway will span 375 miles from the US border near Yuma, Arizona to Guaymas, a popular tourist destination and port of call in Sonora. The four lane highway will provide a safe and convenient route along the Sonoran Gold Coast, an area full of scenic views and relatively undiscovered beaches. The government of Sonora is expecting the highway to entice tourists from Arizona, California and Nevada which along with future development projects will help boost the economics of the region.
Phase 1 is already complete and connected the tourist mecca of Puerto Penasco to the small coastal village of El Golfo Santa Clara. Work on this portion of the project was completed in 2008 and substantially shortened the drive from Baja to Sonora.
The second phase is making improvements to the existing road from El Golfo to the border crossing at Mexicali. This includes widening and repaving the highway as well as improvements to the actual crossing point. Phase 2 should be completed by mid-2009.
Phase 3 will connect Puerto Penasco to Puerto Libertad, another coastal town about 100 miles to the south. Construction of this phase is expected to start later in 2009.
Phase 4 is the culmination of the project and will see the completion of the span from Puerto Libertad to Guaymas. This section will cross the territory of the Seri Indians near Kino Nuevo, a small tribe that has lived along the Sonoran coast for centuries as fishermen with little outside interference.
Additional development projects are tied to the new highway, such as the construction of a new major airport in Puerto Penasco and several housing and shopping developments along the entire length of highway. The international airport is scheduled to start operations by mid-2009 and will receive daily commercial flights from several major cities in the southwestern United States.