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Test at two B.C. crossings aims to reduce border waits into Washington

90-day pilot of Nexus lane launched in Aldergrove and Sumas

A low-key trial of a dedicated lane for Nexus card holders at the Aldergrove-Lynden and Sumas crossings is being conducted by United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

On April 7, signs went up along the Aldergrove highway leading to the Kenneth G. Ward port of entry for Lynden, WA, directing card holders into their own quick-access route that allows them to bypass backups between noon and 8 p.m.

In response to a LangleyAdvance Times query, a spokesperson for U.S. Customs forwarded copies of one-page flyers showing the Abbotsford crossing is part of a 90-day pilot program that also includes the Sumas port of entry in Abbotsford, which will operate a Nexus lane for a shorter period, from noon till 6 p.m. daily.

“CBP often does pilot programs at ports of entry to determine the best use of resources” the statement said.

Several people using the new Nexus lane said they’ve been told by U.S. border guards that a decision to continue the pilot program past the 90-day trial will depend on the amount of traffic, including whether the non-Nexus lanes become too congested during the busy summer season.

READ ALSO: Border arrests up at Aldergrove crossing

An Aldergrove-area resident, who asked that his name not be published, wants people to know about the trial.

“We’re hoping that if the new lanes get some publicity, that more people will use it and that it will stay open past the 90 day trial,” he commented.

“We also feel that they should be asked to keep the Nexus lane open for more hours each day.”

Nexus allows pre-screened travelers expedited processing when entering the United States and Canada.

There are more than 600,000 active Nexus card holders in the so-called “Cascadia Gateway” between Washington and British Columbia, according to a 2019 report by Western Washington University’s Border Policy Research Institute along with University at Buffalo and the University of Windsor’s Cross Border Institute.

The same report found that more than 90 percent of Nexus card holders entering Canada waited less than five minutes at the Peace Arch Crossing in Blaine, Washington, compared to under 50 per cent for non-members.

There already is a Nexus lane for northbound travellers at the Aldergrove crossing into B.C.

READ ALSO: U.S. plans for Aldergrove border crossing include 24-7 operation

An average of 6,000 vehicles a day use the Aldergrove-Lynden crossing on Highway 13, one of five Canada-U.S. border crossings in the Lower Mainland.

Canadian and U.S. crossings in Aldergrove are currently operated for 16 hours a day, from 8 a.m. to midnight, but there are plans by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to modernize and expand the U.S. side of the Aldergrove-Lynden border crossing that could allow 24-hour operation.

READ ALSO: Border blues: Chamber gives mixed review to planned expansion of Aldergrove crossing

A project to widen and upgrade Highway 13 near the Aldergrove-Lynden border crossing on the B.C. side, completed in 2020, created two northbound travel lanes and three southbound lanes on Highway 13 includi9ng what was described as a a future Nexus lane to improve highway capacity for southbound travellers.

Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Best recognized for my resemblance to St. Nick, I’m the guy you’ll often see out at community events and happenings around town.
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