On Thursday, representatives from Niagara Falls, Niagara County, the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission and the government of Canada celebrated the completion of the central plaza building at the Queenston-Lewiston International Bridge.
The project represented the second phase of improvements to the Canadian Plaza and included the construction of a central plaza building for Canada Border Services Agency and Canadian Food Inspection Agency functions; 10 passenger vehicle primary inspection booths; and a separate bus-processing lane. These improvements will result in increased peak traffic capacity and faster processing times for travelers, strengthening trade and tourism between Canada and the United States.
On hand were a number of officials, including The Hon. Rob Nicholson, member of Parliament for Niagara Falls, minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada; Tony Geoghegan, regional director general, Fort Erie region, Canada Border Services Agency; and Dr. Kenneth E. Loucks, chair of the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission.
"The Government of Canada is proud to have invested in the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, one of the busiest Canada-U.S. border crossings," said Nicholson. "Investments in the Queenston Plaza will help to reduce traffic congestion, facilitate local border crossings and improve this important trade link in the Niagara region."
"Completion of the Queenston central plaza building on the northernmost of our three bridges will provide even more rapid border crossings for our cars, trucks and buses moving into Canada," said Dr. Loucks. "As a binational commission, we work extremely hard to provide the highest-quality services to aid and guide the motorists who use our bridges. This building is another example of the success of that effort."
Phase two construction builds on the $49-million phase-one redevelopment project undertaken and funded entirely by the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission. Phase one included the construction of a new elevated parking structure, a toll complex, a primary commercial customs processing facility, a retaining/security wall and a new maintenance storage facility.
The total cost for phase two improvements is $78 million, with the government of Canada contributing up to $62 million through the Gateways and Border Crossings Fund (Building Canada Plan). The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission contributed $16 million.