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After months of digging and upheaval, the streets of El Centro de Tijuana (the downtown center) are accepting maiden voyages. All the primary downtown traffic conduits have undergone radical reconstruction and improvement.

Dug-up streets where the dirt hadn’t seen sunlight for 60 years or more was again covered, but this time with five-inch-thick, steel-reinforced concrete, grooved on the surface with “freeway style” traction surfacing instead of the previous layer-upon-layer of asphalt and tar.

In the process of reconstructing the streets, glazed terra cotta sewer lines 8 inches in diameter were replaced with 22-inch-diameter plastic pipe. New cisterns with manholes were constructed at sewage junctions, and street-drain inlets were enlarged to accommodate larger grates to handle the heavy rains that sometimes bring floodwater conditions.

For decades, the two-foot high sidewalk curbs in some parts of El Centro and in the Zona Norte handled floodwaters that coursed to the Tijuana River basin a few blocks away; the sidewalks were frequently not high enough.

Part of Avenida Niños Héroes, in front of the iglesia (a Catholic church) has been turned into a plaza for pedestrian traffic, and a massive street upheaval at Fourth and Constitución has been successfully renovated.

Pictured: new Tijuana stormwater grate

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