CHAMPLAIN — The Canadian government plans to invest $47 million in improvements to the St-Bernard-de-Lacolle border crossing on Interstate 87.
The project, said Canadian Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Denis Lebel in a press release on the Transport Canada website, “will have a significant impact for Quebec and will facilitate the safe, secure and efficient movement of people and trade between Canada and the United States.
“With the new Building Canada Plan, our government is delivering the largest investment in infrastructure in Canadian history through Economic Action Plan 2013, investments that create jobs and economic growth and provide a high quality of life for families in every city and community across the country.”
The Champlain-Lacolle Port of Entry saw more than $21 billion in two-way trade in 2012. In addition, more than 780,000 cars and buses entered Canada through the port last year.
“The redevelopment project at Lacolle provides an opportunity to expedite the flow of traffic through the border by expanding and modernizing the current infrastructure,” Lebel said.
“This announcement follows through on commitments in the Beyond the Border Action Plan announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama in December 2011.”
The redeveloped port would have 15 traveler lanes, including two NEXUS lanes, up from nine lanes with one NEXUS lane at present. It also includes modernization of the bus-processing facilities and an upgrade of technology used at the port.
The project is expected to start this year and take three years to complete.
It comes after the governments of Canada and Quebec invested more than $86 million on improvements to Highway 15 leading to the border and a new commercial-vehicle safety inspection station in 2006.
The United States has spent more than $100 million on improvements to its side of the border.
Champlain-Lacolle was one of the key border crossings identified in the Beyond the Border Action Plan. That plan focused on early threat detection, trade facilitation, economic growth, job creation, integrated cross-border law enforcement and stronger infrastructure and cyber security.