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Canadian government to spend $47m to improve Champlain-Lacolle crossing

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International travelers could see shorter wait times at the Champlain-Lacolle border crossing area because of a $47 million investment from the Canadian government.

That equals about USD $46 million at current exchange rates.

North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said the finished project will feature 15 car lanes, two of which will be for Nexus pass holders, along with revamped secondary inspection and bus-processing facilities.

The Champlain-Lacolle border crossing on Interstate 87 is the main gateway between Quebec and the United States, according to a released statement, and the fourth busiest on the northern border. In 2011, more than $20 billion worth of legal goods went through it, according to the statement. In 2012, more than 1.1 million vehicles carrying 2.5 million passengers transited the port, according to the statement.

Mr. Douglas said the new secondary inspection area will be designed to prevent travelers from waiting extended lengths of time for others to be inspected, a process that can take several hours. Also, he said, officials hope that the separate bus facility will speed the process for the approximately 10,000 buses that go through the port.

“I certainly think it is significant to Franklin County, as well as the Plattsburgh area,” Mr. Douglas said, noting the hub is the area’s main commercial gateway.

Many travelers and commercial shippers will “port shop,” Mr. Douglas said, meaning they go out of their way to cross where the wait times are shortest.

“There’s a fundamental belief that travel is encouraged by efficiency at the border,” he said. “We also believe over time there is inherently a desire to locate investments and commercial operations around efficient ports of entry.”

He added that at the Champlain-Lacolle crossing, traffic is more often delayed in the northbound lane than the southbound one.

“If we are to continue to build the economy of the Plattsburgh-north country region, we must have optimum fluidity in both directions,” Mr. Douglas is quoted as saying in a North Country Chamber of Commerce released statement.

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