Officials open new Peace Arch port of entry to traffic

Published on Thu, Aug 5, 2010 by By Tara Nelson

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Travelers crossing into the United States at the Peace Arch border crossing will find U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have transitioned their operations into the new port of entry facility, which opened Saturday, July 31.

During this transition phase, both buildings will be used to process people and traffic. Additional officers will be stationed at the crossing and travelers will have to be alert to their directions as traffic patterns will once again be changed.

CBP spokesperson Thomas Schreiber said he doesn’t expect the transition to have a major impact on border wait times but travelers will still want to check border wait times and consider alternate crossings ahead of time, especially on weekends and Canadian holidays.

Schreiber said the new facility has been opened as a test of their computer systems. When border officials are confident things are running smoothly, they will begin to tear down the old facility as well as rebuild the westernmost lanes of southbound I-5 to make room for new lanes, he said. When completed, the new facility will have 10 lanes. Schreiber said he was unable to confirm a completion date although the entire project is scheduled to be completed by December 31, 2010.

During this transition phase, one NEXUS lane will remain open plus additional primary inspection booths will be available for movement of vehicles as construction permits.

The Peace Arch is still closed to all foot traffic. Pedestrians should instead use the Pacific Highway port for crossing into the United States, he said.

The Peace Arch port of entry construction project replaces the current facility, which was built in 1976 and is functionally obsolete. The complete project is expected to achieve Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) Gold certification.

A portion of this project is being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  GSA was appropriated more than $5.5 billion under the Recovery Act to convert federal buildings into high-performance green buildings, and build new, energy-efficient federal buildings, courthouses and land ports of entry.
Additional information on the project, including illustrations of current and planned traffic configurations, can be found by visiting www.gsa.gov/peacearch.
 
For more information, visit www.CBP.gov or www.TSA.gov.