New funding to improve border crossing information

Published on Wed, Apr 7, 2010 by Tara Nelson

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More border cameras and electronic freeway signs planned between Blaine and Bellingham could help motorists make better-informed decisions on when and where to cross the border, Washington state Department of Transportation (DOT) officials announced last week.

DOT spokesperson Dustin Terpening said the new technology will help to reduce congestion at the Peace Arch and Douglas border crossings by providing real-time information on border wait times to drivers. The DOT already has two freeway signs on I-5 – one south of Bellingham and one near Loomis Trail Road – but will install at least one more between Bellingham and Blaine.

 “The idea behind the technology is to give drivers better information and help relieve congestion,” he said. “It will fill the gap between Bellingham and Blaine to give drivers more information to make better decision on when and where to cross the border.”

Terpening said although DOT hasn’t started the design process yet, construction should begin in 2012 and cost about $7 million. The money comes from federal funds tied to border improvements. Some of the funding will come from money saved by a lower-than-expected construction bid on the Blaine roundabout project.

In addition, the British Columbia-Washington State Joint Transportation executive council announced it will be extending  Amtrak’s second daily cross-border train through the summer in hopes of retaining some of the international popularity the region gained during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games,

During that time, the Amtrak Cascades train service carried more than 11,000 passengers.