LAREDO, Texas – The General Services Administration’s Greater Southwest Region and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Laredo Port of Entry are advising that effective Aug. 31, all northbound pedestrian traffic from Gateway to the Americas Bridge will be routed through new temporary pedestrian processing facilities immediately south of the existing administration building.
“CBP is working in close coordination with our GSA partners to advise the traveling public of these temporary pedestrian processing facilities at Gateway to the Americas Bridge,” said Port Director Gregory Alvarez, Laredo Port of Entry.
Slated to open in mid to late August 2016, the temporary pedestrian processing facilities at Gateway to the Americas Bridge will allow GSA to begin the next stage in a $26.8 million project to refurbish, improve and upgrade the 70-year-old port infrastructure at the bridge, including reconfiguration of the historic interior of the administration building, demolishing and replacing the secondary inspection canopy, adding a permanent dedicated bicycle inspection lane and increasing the number of permanent pedestrian processing lanes from four to 14.
The new temporary pedestrian processing facilities will include eight primary inspection booths in the upper part which will allow processed pedestrians to exit directly onto Convent Avenue. A 260-foot secure, bi-directional walkway leads downstairs to a temporary pedestrian secondary inspection building that will house tourist permit processing and the passport control secondary inspection area. Once tourist permits are processed, pedestrians would travel back up the walkway to exit onto Convent Ave. Bicycle traffic will revert back to the vehicular lanes and have a separate gate for processing.
Throughout this construction project, CBP continues to encourage frequent cross border travelers arriving in vehicles to obtain RFID technology-enabled entry documents to use Ready Lanes or to consider enrolling in the Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) program, which provides a dedicated lane for the exclusive use of SENTRI members.
Ready Lanes provide expedited processing through readers that capture information from RFID-enabled entry documents such as newer versions of the laser visa, resident alien and passport cards.
Processing in Ready Lanes is 20 percent faster than normal lanes and provide a time savings of up to 20 seconds per vehicle. Those who have renewed their entry documents within the last 24 months already have RFID-enabled documents and may not know it. CBP will actively monitor pedestrian and vehicle traffic volumes at bridges 1 and 2 ensuring all available lanes are open during peak travel times.
For more information regarding enrollment in trusted traveler programs such as SENTRI or Global Entry, please consult the following link.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.