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Nexus lane pilot project aims to reduce waits at Aldergrove to U.S. crossing

U.S. authorities have began a 90-day test of a dedicated Nexus lane at the Lynden crossing that allows card holders to get through quicker. Another Nexus pilot is underway at the Sumas crossing, too. Dan Ferguson / Langley Advance Times

A low-key trial of a dedicated lane for Nexus card holders at the Aldergrove-Lynden and Sumas crossings is underway by United States Customs and Border Protection.

Signs posted along the Aldergrove highway leading to the Kenneth G. Ward port of entry for Lynden, Wash., direct cardholders into their own quick-access route that allows them to bypass backups between noon and 8 p.m.

In response to a Langley Advance Times query, a spokesperson for U.S. Customs forwarded copies of one-page flyers showing the Abbotsford crossing is part of a 90-day pilot program that also includes the Sumas port of entry in Abbotsford, which will operate a Nexus lane for a shorter period, from noon till 6 p.m. daily.

Customs and Border Protection “often does pilot programs at ports of entry to determine the best use of resources,” the statement said.

Several people using the new Nexus lane said they’ve been told by U.S. border guards that a decision to continue the pilot program past the 90-day trial will depend on the amount of traffic, including whether the non-Nexus lanes become too congested during the busy summer season.

Nexus allows pre-screened travellers expedited processing when entering the United States and Canada.

There are more than 600,000 active Nexus cardholders in the so-called “Cascadia Gateway” between Washington and British Columbia, according to a 2019 report by Western Washington University’s Border Policy Research Institute along with University at Buffalo and the University of Windsor’s Cross Border Institute.

The same report found that more than 90 per cent of Nexus cardholders entering Canada waited less than five minutes at the Peace Arch Crossing in Blaine, Wash., compared to under 50 per cent for non-members.

There’s already a Nexus lane for northbound travellers at the Aldergrove crossing into B.C.

An average of 6,000 vehicles a day use the Aldergrove-Lynden crossing on Highway 13, one of five Canada-U.S. border crossings in the Lower Mainland.

Canadian and U.S. crossings in Aldergrove are currently operated for 16 hours a day, from 8 a.m. to midnight, but there are plans by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to modernize and expand the U.S. side of the Aldergrove-Lynden border crossing that could allow 24-hour operation.

A project to widen and upgrade Highway 13 near the Aldergrove-Lynden border crossing on the B.C. side, completed in 2020, created two northbound travel lanes and three southbound lanes on Highway 13, including what was described as a a future Nexus lane to improve highway capacity for southbound travellers.

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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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