Planning begins for improvements at Grand Portage-Pigeon River border crossing
WTIP file photo - Rhonda Silence

Planning begins for improvements at Grand Portage-Pigeon River border crossing

On February 25, the General Services Administration announced that funding will be coming to two international border crossings in Minnesota as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. One improvement project is in International Falls, and the other right here in Cook County, at the Grand Portage-Pigeon River port of entry.

According to a GSA news release, the legislation invests more than $250 million in the two projects, which will also foster economic growth and job creation in surrounding communities.

Although planning is underway, the project is not yet “shovel ready.” However, WTIP spoke with Customs and Border Protection Area Port Director Chris Misson about the tentative plans.

Misson said plans call for additional traffic lanes, from the current three-lane set up to five. Misson explained that the current situation has two lanes for passenger vehicles and one lane for commercial vehicles. The design for the improvements will make five lanes, all of which can process commercial vehicles.

The tentative plans also call for a new building and removal of the nearly 60-year old CBP building, which Misson said no longer fits CBP standards for port of entry facilities.

Because the funding is still in process and there are land acquisition matters to be worked out, there is no timeline for when work will begin. WTIP asked if travelers can expect delays at the border, and Misson said he did not think it would be too disruptive as the new building would be constructed before demolition of the old, so the existing port can be used during construction.

Misson said as the proposed improvements are closer to fruition, more information will be available. For now, WTIP’s Rhonda Silence learned more about the tentative plans.