“The Baja California Peninsula celebrates 50 years with the world’s most beautiful highway: Federal Highway 1

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To celebrate the inauguration of the “1,” the Federal Government issued a call to artists.

All roads in the world are built in sections and stages, and in Mexico, it’s the same; therefore, very few have an inauguration date. The Federal Highway Mexico 1 does have one, and it’s quite significant: December 1, 1973. The “1” is from the 1.

On that date, the President of Mexico was Luis Echeverria Álvarez, (who served from December 1, 1970, to November 30, 1976), and when he had exactly three years in office, he arrived with his entourage at the 28th parallel, a point that has historically been the division between the two entities (Baja California and Baja California Sur), to lead a grand event where the highway was joined, having been worked on from north to south and south to north. That day marked the formal inauguration of the important road, which he named “Benito Juárez Transpeninsular Highway.”

To celebrate the inauguration of the “1,” the Federal Government issued a national call to artists/sculptors to place a commemorative symbol for this event. The winners, out of 56 contestants, were architects Edmundo Rodríguez Saldívar and Ángel Negrete González, who designed a large esplanade or ceremonial plaza, at the center of which stands a gigantic stylized eagle, whose vertical wings represent the two peninsular Californias, united by the soul of the structure, which is the homeland. This enormous monument, 35 meters tall, can be seen from 5 kilometers away, adorning this vein of progress.

Undoubtedly, President Echeverria vigorously promoted and funded the construction of the Highway, understanding that he did so for several reasons: first, to fulfill one of his campaign promises, which was to complete this important infrastructure work and thus support the development of the populations and communities throughout the peninsula; second, to fulfill everyone’s dream and finally unite the state of Baja California with the then territory of Baja California Sur, leaving behind the isolation of half of the peninsula from the rest of the country; and third, to lay the foundations for Baja California Sur to become the 30th state, which occurred on October 8, 1974.

We must not forget that during the government of Adolfo López Mateos and Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, presidents of Mexico from 1958 to 1964 and from 1964 to 1970 respectively, communications and transport in the southern part of the peninsula were modernized. On November 9, 1964, the maritime ferry route from La Paz to Mazatlán arrived, and the most significant action was that the company ICA obtained the contract for the construction of earthworks, drainage works, and paving of the transpeninsular highway, starting south of La Paz, Baja California Sur, in September 1965, during the administration of Díaz Ordaz.

In short, ICA, at that time the most important construction company in the country, was the one that built the highway from Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S., to San Quintín, B.C., because the Tijuana-Ensenada section already existed, and the Ensenada-San Quintín section as well.

It is imperative to remember that along its 1,711 kilometers, of which 713 km belong to Baja California and 998 km to Baja California Sur, there are several points with Km 0, as this is how the engineers identified the various stages in which the sections of this relevant road were built.

Our highway is known by several names; the official one is “Benito Juárez Transpeninsular Highway,” technically it is Federal Highway Mexico 1, but it is better known simply as the “1.” By the way, foreigners, mainly Canadians and Americans, refer to it as Mexican Highway 1.”

All toll roads in Mexico carry a “D” below the road number, which means it is direct or toll, that is the reason why the Scenic Highway, which starts at km 9.5 in Playas de Tijuana and ends at km 99.4 located at the San Miguel bridge, municipality of Ensenada, carries the “D” below the number 1. As if to say from Tijuana to Ensenada there are two “1” highways, the free one and the toll one.

It was precisely President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz who inaugurated the scenic highway on April 25, 1967, and since then its administration was granted to Federal Roads and Bridges of Income (CAPUFE). Its route is a stroll, offering spectacular views over the coastal area of Baja California and in the evenings, it allows motorists to enjoy very colorful sunsets. A feat of engineering, it cuts through hills and sails over the San Andrés fault. For all these reasons, it is considered one of the most beautiful highways in the world.

The history of this road is extensive and interesting, and it currently has the distinction of being considered one of the three iconic highways that exist in the world, the first is the famous Route 66, which starts in Chicago and ends at Santa Monica beach, in California, United States, which has been widely referenced within Pop Culture, the second is the Mythical Route 40 that crosses in Argentina and goes all the way to Patagonia, it is the one that Che Guevara traveled by motorcycle, and the third is ours, the Federal Highway Mexico 1.

In all the cities and towns of the peninsula, we are proud to have highway “1”, since the meaning of this number represents leadership, strength, determination, beginning, persistence, start, etc., characteristics that we natives of Baja California have. Additionally, we all like its logo.

Source: San Diego Red