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GSA Announces Award of Temporary Road to Improve Traffic Flow and Safety at the Columbus Land Port of Entry

July 9, 2015

GSA Announces Award of Temporary Road to Improve Traffic Flow and Safety at the Columbus Land Port of Entry

Columbus, NM - Today, U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) Regional Administrator Sylvia Hernandez announced the award of a temporary road at the Columbus Land Port of Entry to improve traffic flow and safety at the crossing.

In 2014, Regional Administrator Sylvia Hernandez, New Mexico Senator Udall and Department of Homeland Security representatives discussed the need for a temporary road for access of northbound commercial traffic from Mexico to reduce traffic congestion and provide a safer area for daily pedestrian traffic including children crossing to attend school. On June 4, 2015, GSA awarded the temporary road contract with Veliz Construction from El Paso in the amount of $480,151.47. The new road will be east of the existing vehicle entry to the port and is expected completion date is November 2015.

Regional Administrator Hernandez also announced that the design for the new Columbus Port of Entry is in the design development stage. The project will provide expanded facilities at the existing port to handle future growth in traffic volumes and site improvements to control storm water flow. The design funding was a part of the FY 2014 budget appropriation; construction of the new Columbus port is in the President’s 2016 budget.

New Port of Entry Project Facts:

  • The Columbus POE is a full-service port that inspects privately owned and commercial vehicles and pedestrians. Since its construction in 1989, screening at this POE has increased significantly and advances in technology have led to significant changes in the inspection process and global communications and business practices have provided impetus for dramatic changes in trade policies.
  • The Columbus POE is currently operating from outdated, deteriorating facilities that do not adequately meet the functional needs of the tenant agencies. Additionally, the POE is experiencing increased commercial traffic which is expected to grow over the next fifteen years. New and/or renovated facilities are required to provide operational facilities including inspection areas, docks and support space, as well as address drainage issues inherent to the site.
  • Expansions to the POE since its original construction have ultimately impaired future traffic movement throughout the site. It is also notable that efforts are underway by the government of Mexico to relocate port facilities south of the border further east. The construction of a bypass road to access the new crossing is complete. The new commercial traffic circulation that will result from the addition of the bypass road will be accommodated in the proposed port expansion project.
  • The POE floods during high volume rainfall events. Since 2006, the area has been inundated twice, elevating the flooding problem to the attention of both the U.S. and Mexican governments and the State of New Mexico. Improvements to the port will be designed to protect structures, retain all new onsite storm water, and convey stormwater flows across the site. The site drainage and grading improvements add significantly to the project facility cost but are needed to allow the project to proceed and respond timely to customer needs.

GSA Regional Administrator said:

“The Columbus Land Port of Entry is a top priority for GSA. Through the partnership we’ve developed with DHS, the Village of Columbus, Luna County and Senators Udall and Heinrich we’ve been able to achieve significant progress on both the temporary road and the replacement of the existing port. GSA’s goal is to provide DHS the needed facilities to assist them in accomplishing their mission to provide a safer, more secure America, which is resilient against terrorism and other potential threats.”

Senator Udall said:

“The Columbus Port of Entry plays an important role in Southwest New Mexico’s economy. I’m glad the GSA heard my call to build a temporary road that will make border inspections more efficient and improve safety for pedestrians. I’ll continue to push for full funding to modernize the port of entry and ensure it can keep up with demand and help draw more binational business to the region. But until the project is completed, this new bypass will be a big improvement.”

Senator Heinrich said:

"Critical infrastructure improvements along the border, such as the new Columbus Port of Entry commercial bypass, allow for improved public safety and more efficient trade between the United States and Mexico by accommodating the growth between commercial and commuter crossings in the region, while creating high quality jobs. As New Mexico grows as an international trade center, the Columbus POE will be key to ensuring our border communities continue to prosper from their unique bi-national culture and economy.”

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