The border crossing at Aldergrove is about to get bigger to handle the volume of traffic both now and into the future.
Flanked by local mayors and Langley MP Mark Warawa, Public Safety minister Steven Blaney announced Monday a $17.7 million replacement and upgrade for the Aldergrove Port of Entry.
In about 18 months, the old building will be gone and a new structure with more lanes, expanded facilities for commercial processing, and a Nexus lane, will be installed.
In total, there will be five new traveller lanes and two new commercial lanes for those coming into Langley from the United States.
The Nexus lanes allow faster passage for pre-approved frequent travellers to the United States.
The newly rebuild Aldergrove crossing is expected to be open by early 2016.
However, during construction, commercial traffic will have to find an alternative route.
The Aldergrove crossing has become the second-busiest commercial crossings in the Lower Mainland, behind only the Pacific Highway Truck Crossing in Surrey. That is despite the fact that it was built primarily for local passenger vehicle processing.
Members of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce, including president Christine Simpson and executive director Lynn Whitehouse were on hand for the announcement.
Along with local politicians, the chamber has been pushing for expansion of the border crossing for years, a fact alluded to by Warawa.
The important thing is that this will allow for full commercial inspection facilities, said Simpson and Whitehouse.
It was a little less than a decade ago that there was serious consideration given to completely shutting down all commercial traffic at Aldergrove, they noted.
Yet the crossing is directly to the south of the large and growing Gloucester Industrial Estates, as well as being close to other industrial areas in Aldergrove and Langley.
Warawa pointed out that it makes sense for many commercial travelers heading to and from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows as well, Warawa noted.
â€œItâ€™s really the crossing of choice for a lot of people,â€ Warawa said.
The expansion wonâ€™t change the hours of operation for the border crossing, which run from 8 a.m. to midnight. However, the chamber hopes the increased capacity will make that an easier sell if the volume is there in the future.
The Aldergrove expansion is the last project in a string of expansions and modernizations that cost a total of $65 million over the last five years across western British Columbia.