TOWN OF ORLEANS, N.Y. (WWNY) - It’s a multi-million dollar federal project at the border meant to make entering the U.S. a smoother process. Phase one is now up and running.
“Welcome to the new Alexandria Bay Port of Entry Commercial Facility,” said Tim Walker, area port director.
Construction is complete at the more than 10,000 square foot warehouse and, Thursday, it was time to celebrate.
It’s a processing facility for U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to inspect commercial vehicles coming into the country.
Chief CBP Officer Kurt Tennant says the new space makes life a bit easier.
“This facility gives us the ability to do more inspections more efficiently,” he said.
The entry point sees a lot of traffic. It’s the fifth busiest commercial land crossing between the U.S. and Canada.
Tennant says keeping up in the old facility was a struggle.
“We’ve been working with substandard building for 30 years,” he said.
The new warehouse is owned by the U.S. General Services Administration and it’s part of a $215 million project.
GSA Regional Administrator John Sarcone says the state’s COVID-19 shutdown didn’t slow construction.
“The men and women of those teams were here, and they were working every day. We had no lost time because of injury, which is amazing. And, it completed on time,” he said.
The project doesn’t end at the four walls; Tennant says more booths have been added for inbound vehicles.
While phase one is in the books, there’s still work to do.
Tennant says phase two of the build, which focuses on the main administration building and passenger processing, could be complete by September of 2022.