Last year, the U.S. Congress put some much-needed support behind a study highlighting the desperate need to modernize the Raul H. Castro Port of Entry in Douglas, AZ. The study, conducted by the General Service Administration (GSA), which took about seven months to complete, poked at different update needs for the port like widening roads and updating processing capacity.
In April, work began on two projects to modernize the port following the study, including the goal of streamlining the flow of traffic through new construction. Now, another boost for the overall project is being reported as the Arizona Department of Transportation is vowing support for the two-port solution championed by Douglas Mayor Robert Uribe.
“ADOT has partnered with the City and all its stakeholders to advance the Two-Port Solution,” Mayor Uribe said. “This includes work on developing the new connector road for the new commercial port of entry.”
Annually, about 7.7 million people cross on foot and another 3.2 million cars drive through the port of entry. This results in an estimated $4 billion in economic activity. The renovations that began this last spring focused on the pedestrian mall and the immigration permitting area. Now, with support from ADOT, the port will see new connector roads that will open up the flow of traffic like a new bloodstream, making traffic lighter and more fluid.
ADOT will partner with Mayor Uribe’s office to conceptualize construction and design of the roads.
“The Raul H Castro Port of entry is obsolescent, encumbered and heavily congested,” Uribe said. “The port requires a significant modernization to address current, and future needs of the community, trade, commerce, security, and tourism — the port is landlocked, particularly on the Agua Prieta, Sonora side. However, the City of Douglas, along with its imperative stakeholders are advocating for a Two-Port Solution that will take all truck traffic out of the downtown areas on both Douglas and Agua Prieta and relocate it to a new state of the art facility to the west.”
According to Uribe, this would allow for the existing port of entry to be assigned to non-commercial traffic, which will increase pedestrian flow as well as car and bus movement through the downtown facility.
A new road would mean a modernization of the existing port and the construction of the new port to the west will provide gains in throughput for all forms of traffic. The new commercial port is expected to be designed and built to adhere to the new inspection program entitled “Unified Cargo Inspection,” which combines both U.S. and Mexican customs and inspections into a single facility.