The International Mobility and Trade Corridor Program

Abbotsford-Sumas Border Improvement Project

Phase I

Status: Completed in 2002

Overview

The Abbotsford-Sumas Border Improvement Project was a binationally funded effort to identify constraints and develop solutions for the border crossing between Abbotsford, British Columbia and Sumas, Washington.

Location

The border crossing at B.C. Highway 11 and WA State Route 9 is the Sumas/Abbotsford-Huntingdon Port-of-Entry, and is open twenty-four hours. It serves commercial and passenger vehicle traffic.

Why this project was needed

In the early 2000s Increased traffic volumes through this port-of-entry  resulted in constraints and safety hazards at the border crossing. Due to a lack of parking for southbound commercial vehicles, trucks often blocked access to booths for both automobiles and other trucks. Traffic blockages led to dangerous driving conditions and congestion through the residential community of Huntingdon, BC. Access to the duty free store was also often blocked due to truck parking. Northbound traffic often queued through the center of the City of Sumas, restricting access to cross-town local traffic and interfering with commerce at downtown businesses.

Results

This study was the first of its kind to integrate local, regional, and national funding partners from both Canada and the United States to address the issues facing a binational border environment. All planning efforts were coordinated and overseen by a project subcommittee of the IMTC.

The first phase of this project was completed at the end of 2002 and resulted in a final report from both the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Perteet Engineering, Inc. The report outlined recommended improvements to infrastructure and operations to address the concerns identified by stakeholders.

B.C. Ministry of Transportation recommended the construction of a commercial staging area just north of the border crossing on a vacant lot, which would provide parking for commercial vehicles and redirect commercial traffic away from passenger traffic heading south.

Perteet Engineering recommended both short-term and long-term solutions to address queuing through Sumas, WA. The primary recommendation was for increased border staffing at Canada Border Services Agency’s port-of-entry. The long-term recommendation was to develop an additional passenger vehicle holding area for northbound vehicles, and to construct a second northbound commercial booth at the Canada Border Services Agency’s port-of-entry.

Cost

$200,000 total

Funding & Partnerships

This project was funded by:

Phase II

Status: Completed in 2003

Overview

Resulting from Phase I of the study, construction was completed on a new commercial vehicle staging area off B.C. Highway 11. The B.C. Ministry of Transportation worked closely with Canada Border Services Agency, U.S. Customs & Border Protection, the City of Abbotsford, and the Huntingdon Duty Free store to align the new staging area.

Results

The new staging area includes parking space for trucks to eliminate long southbound queues caused by commercial vehicles parked in the roadway. It also realigns the commercial vehicle entry into the U.S. port-of-entry, separating commercial and passenger vehicles at the intersection of B.C. Highway 11 and 4th Avenue.

Cost

$1,780,000

Funding & Partnerships

This project was funded by: