The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in the US has opened a new $236m Brawley Bypass in Imperial County.

The new bypass will reduce traffic congestion in the area and improve the transportation of international goods between California and Mexico by offering an alternate route for commercial trucks and motorists near the city of Brawley.

Caltrans director Malcolm Dougherty said that the project not only relieves commercial truck congestion on Brawley’s streets, but also provides a vital link in the transportation corridor that moves goods to Los Angeles and other parts of the country.

Construction of the bypass, which has been completed in three stages, involved eight miles of a four-lane divided expressway around Brawley from State Route 86 (SR-86) in the north of Brawley to south of the eastern junction of State Route 78 (SR-78) and State Route 111 (SR-111).

The first phase of the construction commenced in February 2004 and was completed in May 2005, while the second phase began in February 2008 and was completed in June 2011. Work on the final phase begun in 2011.

"Work on the final phase begun in 2011."

The project also included building new bridges at the New River and Union Pacific Railroad crossings, in addition to the construction of an interchange at the junction of SR-78 and SR-111 and accommodation for the future expansion at Brawley Airport.

Close to 37 million vehicles commute every year between the Imperial Valley and Mexico, and around 2,500 to 3,000 trucks are expected to use the new bypass every day in 2013.

Of the total $236m, the project received $133m from Proposition 1B, a $20bn transportation bond approved by voters in 2006.