A new $24 million U.S. Customs office and truck inspection facility on the Peace Bridge plaza should speed up processing times and help ease air pollution, officials border officials told the Buffalo News.
The extensive renovations and expansion to the 65-year-old office building next to Front Park, coupled with an upgraded cargo bays that should speed up truck inspections, are part of a broader five-year improvement plan costing $186 million that now is underway at the Peace Bridge plaza.
The renovation work, carried out in phases over the past two years, increased the size of the building by more than 50 percent to more than 67,000 square feet of space.
The new building also will make it more efficient for customs officers to carry out inspections on some of the 940,000 trucks that cross the Peace Bridge each year, said Rose Hilmey, acting director of the Buffalo field office of the Customs and Border Protection Service.
The renovated facility has two additional cargo bays, including one in a secure area.
The Buffalo News reports dock space in the cargo area also has greatly increased, giving inspectors much more room to unload trucks during the inspection process. The old inspection area only had 10 feet of dock space behind each bay, forcing customs officers to manually unload cargo. The new space has 40 feet of dock space behind each bay, which allows for the use of motorized equipment to unload a truck’s contents. In some cases, that can reduce unloading times by as much as 75 percent.