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Tuesday January 27th, 2015

Posted at 1:10pm

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The interior of the Canada Border Services Agency’s new commercial inspection building

Windsor’s new tunnel plaza has officially opened after 11 years of planning.

MP Jeff Watson, Mayor Drew Dilkens and other government officials celebrated the opening at a media event, Tuesday morning.

The need to reduce traffic backups that spilled onto city streets following 9/11 was what prompted both the federal and provincial governments to invest in updating the plaza, which includes an advanced queuing ‘loop’ of road to keep cars off Wyandotte.

While tunnel traffic backups have dropped in recent years, officials say the new plaza equips Windsor for future traffic volumes and promote the use of the NEXUS program, which itself has a special entrance on Windsor Avenue near City Hall.

Other upgrades include a new building for customs to process tunnel buses and inspect commercial traffic such as trucks, a new tunnel maintenance building, new inspection booths for truck and passenger vehicle processing, and a reconfiguration of the duty-free parking area, municipal parking lots and existing intersections.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens highlighted the importance of the tunnel to the city and noted that “congestion, chaos and long wait times” will be a thing of the past.

The overall tunnel plaza project cost $35 million and was the last piece of a 22 part, $300 million border project announced in 2004 called the Let’s Get Windsor Essex Moving Strategy.

The plaza opened in stages, with the new entrance and road opening in late 2014, and the new customs building opening earlier this month.

New inspection lanes and booths to be used by commercial traffic such as local-destination trucks

 

NEXUS program members have a dedicated lane to bypass possible plaza congestion

 

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