An enormous gantry crane recently erected at the U.S. Border Station in San Ysidro, hovered above the U.S. landmark in order to begin the precision disassembly of the old 1972 Nixon-era structure in such a way as to minimize the disruption of border traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian, while simultaneously erecting the new, improved border station.
At the “world’s busiest” border crossing, the seemingly impenetrable problem of achieving this end has aroused the curiosity of many a daily border-crosser. Inside the border station are placards showing “before” and “after” architectural illustrations of the ongoing project, but no hint is given as to the grand strategy for attaining the end result. The vehicle and pedestrian lanes must remain open while the old edifice and its concomitant pedestrian bridge spanning the I-5 entry into Mexico, must be nondisruptively removed.
A traditional, Vegas hotel-style explosive demolition just wouldn’t do, and it appears the solution decided upon by the engineers is to pick apart the old structure, tiny bit by tiny bit, as an archaeologist would delicately unearth the fossil remains of some complex dinosaur skeleton using only a dental pick and a whiskbroom, before transporting it in pieces to a museum for artful re-assembly.
At this point in the process, a gaping hole derived from the disassembly of the old edifice frames a view of Colonia Libertad’s hillside location on the Tijuana side of the border. As the months roll by, the entire edifice will be reduced to a mere memory, while the new vision will arise, Phoenix-like, from the very non-rubble of such studied and carefully designed deconstruction.