GSAto postpone ‘lane squeezing’

Published on Thu, Oct 18, 2007 by Meg Olson

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GSA to postpone ‘lane squeezing’

By Meg Olson

The finalized traffic plan during construction at the Peace Arch will shift the pain from the project’s start to its finish.

Original plans to redirect traffic had included limiting southbound inspection lanes to one regular lane and a NEXUS lane.

In an October 17 press release the General Services Administration announced that when construction starts to impact the traveling public on November 5, three booths and a NEXUS booth will continue to be available as traffic is switched to the east side of the building. Plans to squeeze inspections into two lanes has been postponed to an unspecified time period at the project’s end.

The second phase of construction is slated to start December 11, when inspections move back to the west side of the existing building and traffic flow is almost back to normal for a month.

Starting in January 2008 plans are to close Interstate 5’s existing northbound lanes for at least 18 months from approximately D Street to the Peace Arch during construction of a bridge and most of the new facility.

During this period all southbound traffic will exit in Blaine and detour to the Portal Way onramp along Peace Portal Drive. Northbound traffic will move over into the southbound lanes and diverted along the east side of the existing building. A potential bottleneck for northbound traffic will be one regular and one NEXUS lane through the northbound detour route, though more booths will be available for inspection at the Canadian port of entry.

Dates and durations for phases four and five have not been set. Southbound traffic will continue to detour through Blaine until the project approaches completion. Additional pressure on southbound traffic will come in phase five, when GSA anticipates only one regular inspection lane and one NEXUS lane will be open.

GSA public affairs manager Bill Lesch said timelines for the later phases of the project were undetermined because, as a design/build, the design and construction processes overlap. “As the project progresses they’ll bring in subcontractors as needed to move things quickly,” he said.