Gridlock at Canadian border crossing

| Thursday, August 30, 2001

It may be time for truckers crossing the border into Canada at Blaine to invest in a good book. Truckers have been looking at a crossing time of about two hours this week and customs officials say it will probably be worse over the holiday weekend.

According to U.S. Customs spokesman Ron Hays, the situation won't improve any time soon, as the request for additional staff has gone unanswered. Hays, advises drivers to avoid his border crossing altogether during the Labor Day weekend.

"It's going to be tough here at Blaine, with gridlock," Hays told reporters. "I suggest drivers go 20 minutes away to the Lynden crossing or go to Sumas. Or try to avoid weekend crossings altogether."

About 4,000 trucks cross the border at Blaine each day. Reportedly, the Pacific Highway is the busiest crossing into western Canada and British Columbia Trucking Association (BCTA) President Paul Landry says delays there cost Canadian business $60 million each year.

Hays said not to expect relief at his station anytime soon. "We've made requests for more staff, but there aren't any additional inspectors for the northern border included in next year's budget," he said.

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