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Move to 24-hour Aldergrove border crossing welcomed by businesses

Concern about lax enforcement of tariffs, however
A proposal to upgrade the aging U.S. border crossing in Aldergrove could lead to a 24-hour operation. (Langley Advance Times files)

A move to make the Aldergrove border crossing a round-the-clock operation is being welcomed by businesses on the B.C. side, with some reservations.

Aldergrove Business Association president Jodi Steeves was concerned about increased traffic, but confident the impact of longer cross-border shopping hours won’t have much impact on local businesses.

Greater Langley Chamber Of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Cory Redekop hailed an end to overnight shutdowns while expressing concern about lax enforcement of cross-border tariffs.

Steeves and Redekop were reacting to news the aging American border crossing is going to be overhauled, something that would allow 24-hour service.

Steeves thinks it won’t have much impact on local businesses.

“I don’t think cross-border shopping is going to hurt us,” Steeves predicted.

“I worry more about noise and and just road congestion,” Steeves said. “I think that’s where we’re going to actually feel it.”

With even more commercial trucks heading northbound from the U.S., she warned the intersection at 264th and 56th, by the Hwy. 1 interchange, “will just get worse if it’s not improved. In peak traffic times, cars are already backed up going onto Hwy. 1 because of that intersection.”

On balance, Redekop thought it was a good thing.

“Overall, the border expansion is a good development for business in general, but we have long had concerns with the inconsistent collection of duties incentivizing cross-border shopping,” Redekop remarked.

Redekop pointed out the Aldergrove border is directly accessible by the Gloucester industrial district, which is home to over 200 businesses, many of which depend on the border to get their products to the United States.

“Too often the border gets congested, or isn’t open at all, and those delays only add to the cost and hassle faced by those businesses trying to export,” Redekop told the Langley Advance Times.

Redekop said the Chamber does have concerns about economic impact of cross-border shopping on the local business community, “and we always encourage local residents to support Langley businesses first.”

Border agents do not uniformly enforce tariffs on returning Canadian travellers, he said, “so we continue to advocate for the federal government to ensure there is even collection of taxes and duties so we don’t put Aldergrove businesses at a disadvantage.”

Steeves would also like to see Canadian customs officers being more diligent about enforcing tariffs on returning Canadian shoppers, so “it’s fair for everybody.”

Currently, the crossing is operated by the United States Customs and Border Protection (US CBP) for 16 hours a day, from 8 a.m. to midnight, as is the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) crossing next door that handles traffic from the U.S. into Canada.

At an estimated cost of $90 to $100 million U.S., the overhaul would expand the Lynden crossing, offering four lanes for trucks and five for regular vehicles when completed. It currently has one lane for trucks, and four non-commercial lanes.

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

U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which is in charge of upgrading the aging Kenneth G. Ward land port of entry, said plans to modernize and expand the U.S. side of the Aldergrove-Lynden border crossing could turn it into a 24-hour operation.

“The expansion project will expand and separate personal vehicle traffic and commercial screening operations, possibly allowing for a 24-hour, full-service port operations,” a GSA online project summary said.

Built in 1986, the 16,421 sq-ft Kenneth G. Ward facility “is no longer able to meet the operational needs of customs and border protection,” the GSA summary states.

“The port’s limited commercial capability results in unbalanced demand and escalating wait times at other commercial ports throughout Western Washington.”

Construction is expected to start in September 2026, with “substantial completion” by November of 2028, the GSA projects.

In 2014, the Canadian border crossing began a complete overhaul, with new buildings, two new commercial lanes and five travel lanes, including a Nexus line that allows vetted travellers to bypass customs delays.

Work was completed in 2020.

READ ALSO: $17.7 million upgrade to Aldergrove border crossing

Plans to upgrade the U.S. side of the Sumas crossing in Abbotsford, at a cost of $135 million to $155 million U.S., have also been announced.

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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