Returning home from Canada at one of Whatcom County’s five United States-Canada border crossings should soon get a little easier.
The bad news? You guessed it — there’s likely to be some construction slowdowns while work is done. Fortunately, there are three other crossings to try when wait lines get long.
According to a dailyhive.com story Monday, a $15.4 million construction project on Canadian Highway 13 near the Lynden-Aldergrove border crossing will widen a section of the highway and allow for more southbound traffic.
The expansion will increase the highway from two lanes to five, according to the story, adding new southbound Nexus and commercial vehicle lanes and a northbound truck climbing lane. In addition, plans are to build a new east-west connection and signal at 3B Avenue, a safety improvement at the intersection with Eighth Avenue and pedestrian and bicycling facilities at 0 Avenue.
The project is expected to be completed by the fall of 2019, and according to a Vancouver Courier story about the project, it should reduce 30 percent of the general-purpose southbound traffic backup at the crossing.
According to data from the United States Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there were 51,919 personal vehicles carrying 102,918 people crossing into the U.S. at the Lynden crossing in March — the most recent month data was available. Southbound truck numbers were 4,742 in the same month.
In 2017, 509,467 personal vehicles (or about 1,396 per day) crossed from Canada at the crossing, down from 512,823 in 2016 — the fifth straight year the crossing has seen a decrease in traffic since establishing a 15-year high of 818,521 in 2012. It was the least used border crossing into Whatcom County — behind Blaine’s 3,850,849 personal vehicles (Peace Arch and truck crossing combined), Point Roberts’ 927,329 and Sumas’ 839,024 — but still the fourth busiest in the state.