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Budget Information

SR 539 - Lynden-Aldergrove Port of Entry Improvements

Construction
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Lynden-Aldergrove border crossing

Status

October 2014

  • Granite Construction was awarded the contract for this project.
  • Construction began July 7.
  • Canadian Border Services Agency also has work underway on the Canadian side of the border. It is building a new customs station and lanes. That work will be complete in the first quarter of 2016. Motorists should be prepared for delays at this border crossing through 2016. Motorists should consider alternates such as the Blaine or Sumas border crossings.

Overview
This project widens and dramatically improves a narrow, outdated section of State Route 539 in Whatcom County leading to an outdated Canadian border crossing. 

Specifically, we will widen northbound State Route 539 between H Street and the Lynden-Aldergrove border crossing by adding two additional lanes, bringing the total to three lanes: a General Purpose, NEXUS and truck lane (the truck lane splits into two lanes just before reaching the border). We will also widen the shoulder.

The entire northbound roadway will be shifted east around the Duty Free store to accommodate the new CBSA facility.

Why is WSDOT widening SR 539 near the border?
The Lynden-Aldergrove border crossing is a bottleneck that creates long traffic backups in an area with growing freight and traveler needs. Canadian customs has secured funding to rebuild its 40-year-old, obsolete building and enlarge the size of its inspection facilities. The improved port of entry cannot operate effectively without corresponding improvements to our state highway.

Improvements to SR 539 are needed to reduce the bottle neck that will occur once additional booths are added at the Canadian facility. Without these improvements, traffic will still back up waiting to cross the border. Once we add the second lane, a NEXUS lane will then be available at this border crossing, helping to dramatically reduce wait times for drivers with a NEXUS card.

In 2009, this vital port processed $377 million in Washington exports and $40 million in British Columbia exports. Although restrictions for northbound trucks have been in place since 2010, demand for freight access remains high.

The Lynden-Aldergrove crossing is one of four border crossings that are known collectively as the Cascade Gateway (five-minute YouTube video about Cascade Gateway). These crossings connect major metropolitan areas on both sides of the border. The Cascade Gateway contains the third busiest passenger-vehicle crossing on the U.S.-Canada border, the fourth busiest commercial crossing, and carries more than $40 million (USD) every day in trade. Each of the four Washington-British Columbia crossings plays a vital role in supporting international trade with Canada, and are important for creating U.S. jobs.

The End Result
Once completed, the combined WSDOT and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) projects will remove a key bottleneck by separating trucks, passenger cars and trusted travelers into separate lanes, reducing border wait times, and increasing throughput of both passenger and freight traffic. These improvements will facilitate international trade, including U.S. exports and Canadian retail activity in Washington state.

Project Benefits

  • Border mobility: The project will improve northbound SR 539 to accommodate CBSA’s new inspection facilities, help reduce border wait times and facilitate international trade.
  • Safety: The project will transform this section of highway from a narrow roadway to a wider, safer three-lane highway with wider shoulders.
  • Environmental: Adds stormwater detention ponds and water treatment systems to improve water quality. Improves air quality by reducing idling at the border crossing, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

What is the project timeline?

  • 2012-2013: Design project
  • May 15, 2012: Hosted a community at Lynden City Hall Annex, 205 Fourth Street.
  • April 2014: Project advertised for competitive bid
  • May 2014: Granite Construction awarded contract
  • July 2014: Construction begins

Financial Information

Financial Data for PIN 153915A
Funding Source Amount ($ in thousands)
2003 Gas Tax (Nickel Funding) $0
2005 Gas Tax (TPA) $0
Pre-Existing Funds (PEF) $7,184
Total $7,184

Project signage will reflect the cost of construction engineering, project bid award and sales tax.

How can I get more information?
Contact:
Project Engineer, Chris Damitio
460 Stuart Road
Bellingham, WA 98226
360-788-7403
Email: chris.damitio@wsdot.wa.gov

Communications, Tom Pearce
15700 Dayton Avenue North
Shoreline, WA 98133
Phone: 360-661-7903
Email: pearcet@wsdot.wa.gov 

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