Monday, May 25, 2009

Arco Norte

In Mexico these two things are true:
1) All roads lead to Mexico City.
2) Nobody wants to drive through Mexico City.

This leaves travelers in a bit of a delima. Mexico City is a traffic nightmare of twenty million people, almost the population of all of Canada! There are rules in place that allow certain license plates on the road on certain days. The question arises that when your motorhome is towing a car, which plate must conform? The towing vehicle, the car or both? It is hard to get an answer. This is known as the Hoy No Circula ("today it does not circulate") rules. Also, a vehicle testing procedure has been put in place to keep emissions under control. Every vehicle driving in Mexico City must have one of these stickers.

Our Mexican friend tells these rules do not apply to visitors, only to vehicles with DF plates. He says the best time to drive through the city is in the middle of the night (3 or 4 am) on a weekday. Our friend says he would be willing to go with us and even drive the rig for us and then take a bus back home, "Esto no es problema" (This is no problem) he says. I truly believe our friend would have no problem as he is a former Federale and Government Prosecutor. If he got stopped I KNOW he would have no problem. But what would my excuse be when a Trafico asks me what I think I am doing driving a vehicle with no pollution sticker on the wrong day of the week? I don't think "My friend said it would be OK" would get me very far.

Fortunately, a new highway called the Arco Norte (Northern Arch) is being built that will bypass Mexico City to the North and East. It will leave Highway 57 just South of Queretaro and will meet Highway 150D just East of Puebla (it will also continue to the West to provide a very nice bypass of the city). This will be a great relief to us because trying to find a way around Mexico City consumed a lot of our time last year.

The problem is finding out anything about the progress of this construction. It was suposed to be finished by April, 2009 but no one seems to be able to confirm this. There are some sections open and there are some nice photos of these sections on the internet. The problem is, these isolated sections end in the middle of nowhere with no easy way to get from one to another. I hope this highway will be completed by the time we need it this winter!

Glen from the Blog Palapa Life has provided a Link to a map of the new Arco Norte on Google Maps.


  1. Do you remember the 'bridge to nowhere" on I-90 in Seattle? They had this bridge that just stopped about five stories up because they ran out of money. It stayed like that for at least ten years. Maybe the Mexican's will copy our stupidity. Hope not for your sake!

  2. hi, Croft, i heard somewhere recently that the Arco Norte has been completed

    Juanita/Jean, a/k/a Snorklequeen

  3. Croft, i was wrong. it's not open yet. i was reading Mike and Terry Church's blog for May 4-10, and they said it was supposed to open in May but it'll be another few months. all but 30 miles is complete, the Churchs said


  4. Here's a little more information about it.
    It says it will open the end of July. It will cost about $20 USD to travel the whole road.

  5. That is great news Janell. Thanks for sharing!