Construction Begins on New Tornillo-Guadalupe Port of Entry
The transformation of a 117-acre cotton field into a modern international port of entry is now under way.
Yesterday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, General Services Administration leaders, local elected officials and representatives of Mexico joined to break ground on the new Tornillo-Guadalupe international port of entry in El Paso County, Texas. The project is slated to be complete in the summer of 2013.
"As America's first line of defense, CBP is not only committed to protecting and securing our nation's borders, but also in welcoming travelers and cargo from all over the world through our facilities," said Chris Saindon, CBP assistant director of field operations in El Paso. "This facility will stand as a reminder of our dedication to the partnership we have with our communities and to our joint efforts in standing guard at our nation's doorstep."
The nearly $96 million project will replace the existing Fabens port of entry which includes three trailers and a simple two-lane wooden bridge which was built in 1938. The new six-lane border-crossing facility will be one of the largest in the nation and capable of serving vehicular, pedestrian and commercial traffic. It is expected that the new crossing will also alleviate congestion at other area border crossings by providing an additional crossing option for commercial vehicles.
"In an area where international trade between the U.S. and Mexico is only going to grow, GSA is using its design and construction expertise to create a facility that will meet CBP's needs well into the future," said JD Salinas, GSA regional administrator for the greater southwest. "At the same time, we are incorporating the latest innovations in technology that will work toward the federal government's goal of conserving energy and reducing water consumption and protecting the nation's natural resources."
With its six lanes, the Tornillo-Guadalupe port will provide a more rapid route between major commercial and industrial centers in the U.S. and Mexico. Additionally, new roadways connecting nearby Interstate 10 to the Tornillo port will provide a more direct route for border traffic. Mexico is slated to construct its own roadway network that will also facilitate traffic on their end.
With an eye toward sustainability and reducing energy needs and costs, the project will feature building-integrated photovoltaic solar systems, high efficiency HVAC systems, LED lighting, and advanced metering systems and help it qualify for Silver certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.
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.