DOT identifies critical border congestion relief projects

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The U.S. Department of Transportation says drivers and freight shippers will experience less delay at U.S. border crossings in California, Texas and Washington because of an effort to prioritize and accelerate projects that ease border congestion.

“Congestion at our borders is choking both travelers and commerce with excessive wait times, and negatively impacting air quality,” Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said Friday, Sept. 19. “By prioritizing the projects, we can improve the movement of people and goods across our borders and help to maintain these important economic lifelines.”

All projects will explore public-private partnerships, which combine federal and state funds with private-sector investments. “These innovative projects will bring together public-private partnerships to advance the objective of a more efficient and reliable transportation system,” said Federal Highway Administrator Thomas Madison.

At the southern border, San Diego’s Otay Mesa East Port of Entry project will create a new port of entry and a 2.7-mile four-lane highway that links to the existing California highway system to provide more capacity for traffic through the region.

In Laredo, Texas, the East Loop Bypass Project will build a new rail bridge across the border and new rail bypass around the city, adding rail capacity and improving safety.

At the northern border, in Blaine, Wash., the Cascade Gateway Expanded Cross-border Advanced Traveler Information System project proposes to provide real-time border-crossing wait times and other travel information through a combination of technologies.