Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we will modernize three land ports of entry in Washington:
- The Kenneth G. Ward Land Port of Entry in Lynden is a 16-hour port for personal vehicles, buses, and limited commercial truck traffic between Lynden, Washington, and Aldergrove, British Columbia, Canada. Currently, there are three passenger vehicle lanes and one commercial lane. There is frequent congestion in the commercial lane, so commercial vehicles often travel farther distances to ports that offer easier overall processing. The project will accommodate additional passenger and commercial vehicle lanes with improved traffic control and general site security.
- The Pacific Highway Land Port of Entry is a 24-hour port for personal vehicles, buses, pedestrians, and commercial truck traffic between Blaine, Washington, and Douglas, British Columbia, Canada. The LPOE, last expanded in 1999, has notable increases in wait times, particularly for personal vehicles and bus traffic entering the U.S.
- The Sumas Land Port of Entry is a 24-hour port for personal vehicles, buses, and commercial truck traffic between Sumas, Washington, and Abbotsford, British Columbia. It is one of five LPOEs serving travelers in the greater Vancouver-Seattle region.
Pacific Highway LPOE is the primary commercial port for the Western Washington and British Columbia regions. In 2020, over $5 billion worth of goods entered the U.S. through this port.
The Ward LPOE can no longer meet U.S. Custom and Border Protection’s operational needs. There is limited commercial capacity, which creates higher wait times at other commercial ports. The new LPOE will have increased commercial and passenger vehicle traffic flow throughout the Western Washington ports of entry.
The Sumas LPOE did not have a drop in commercial truck traffic with the pandemic. In 2020, over $1.6 billion worth of goods crossed into the U.S. at Sumas, most of which were rough wood or wood products. Inbound commercial vehicles waiting for clearance to cross must park along Railroad Avenue, which causes traffic and security concerns. Commercial vehicles exiting the secondary canopy area typically reverse to leave, which causes inefficient inbound traffic flow and queueing issues. The new port will allow for more efficient processing of commercial vehicles in an expanded area, enabling CBP to process traffic more quickly.
Jobs and economic impact
The Pacific Highway LPOE processes two million vehicles annually, or over 600 per hour, and wait times on average in 2018 were over 13 minutes. Cross-border traffic increased by 30% from 2009 to 2017, and CBP projects a similar rate of growth in the future. Through the expansion of the port, CBP will be able to process cross-border travelers more quickly and efficiently.
Based on data collected in 2016, over 60% of the trucks entering the Ward LPOE are empty (the port is permit-only except for empty trucks). Expanding the port’s capacity to process commercial traffic efficiently benefits economies on both sides of the border.
As of 2020, Sumas LPOE is one of the busiest LPOEs along the U.S.-Canadian border. More pedestrians cross into the U.S. here than at any other port on the Canadian border, except Niagara Falls in New York. It ranked eighth in the number of passenger vehicles and commercial trucks processed annually.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion
We will engage the local officials and Native American tribes through community outreach and meaningful employment opportunities. We will use translation services to communicate in English and Spanish for the local communities that need it.
The new Pacific Highway LPOE and Ward LPOE are planned to be Net-Zero Ready and LEED Gold certified. The Ward LPOE is targeting a SITES Silver certification. The Sumas LPOE project seeks to achieve a LEED Gold certification. Improvements to processing and wait times will reduce idling traffic and mitigate human health and environmental impacts. We plan to support the reduction of embodied carbon in building materials.
The Pacific Highway LPOE project will add four passenger vehicle lanes to the east of the existing six. We will also expand the secondary inspection area to have six enlarged bays. We will add parking capacity and upgrade all inspection areas with better infrastructure.
At the Ward LPOE, the primary inspection area will have upgraded infrastructure and enable CBP and other federal agencies to use the latest technology to identify high-risk activity and shipments, combat drug trafficking, and increase operational security.
The building systems at the Sumas LPOE need to be updated. The new LPOE will have CBP processing pedestrians in a secure location away from vehicular traffic. We will expand and modernize private vehicle and commercial screening operations.
Improving the port facilities and expanding the number of vehicle processing lanes will positively impact the local area on both sides of the border and help sustain the relationship between the U.S., Canada, and the tribal nations in the area.