Construction to cause more delays at border

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is advising travellers entering the United States at the border here to consider crossing elsewhere for the next few weeks due to delays caused by construction.
In a press release issued late Tuesday, the agency reported that from “now until mid-July, construction crews will force lane closures on the bridge joining Canada and the U.S. at the port of International Falls-Fort Frances.
“Travellers are advised to consider an alternative route to enter the United States,” it added. “The port of Baudette, Mn., located approximately 60 miles west of International Falls, offers a viable alternative for both northbound and southbound travellers.
“Baudette is open 24 hours, with no border crossing fees,” it noted.
Mike Milne, public affairs officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security—Border and Transportation Security, the construction project at International Falls is part of the agency’s efforts to deploy radiation portal monitors at airports, seaports, and land border crossings throughout the United States.
“We’re doing installations all around the country. We’re doing it all at once. We’re getting it done as fast as we can,” he said from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in Seattle, Wash.
Milne said he realizes doing such construction in the summer months may make some wonder why it had to happen during the busy tourist season in an area such as Borderland, but stressed it was a necessary move.
“We apologize for the inconveniences this may cause, but it’s part of a national roll-out,” he said. “We have this technology and we’re trying to get it implemented as fast as we can.
“It is for people’s safety,” he remarked.
A radiation portal monitor is a detection device that provides U.S. Customs and Border Protection with a passive, non-intrusive means to screen trucks and other conveyances for the presence of nuclear and radiological materials.
These systems are capable of detecting various types of radiation emanating from special nuclear materials, natural sources, and isotopes commonly used in medicine and industry.
The portal monitors do not emit any radiation. They are completely safe for anyone passing by them, including children and pregnant women, said Milne.
The deployment of portal monitors is an important component of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s multi-layered strategy to prevent the introduction of nuclear and radiological materials into the United States.