BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced the completion of new infrastructure projects at the North Portal border in Saskatchewan, helping to upgrade trade and travel between the United States and Canada.

The North Portal port of entry, serving as a barrier between Canada and North Dakota, is open 24-7 and is located on a major trade route that links Saskatchewan to the American midwest. In 2021 alone, border officers at the North Portal admitted 158,225 travelers to Canada, behind the wheels of 129,486 commercial trucks, 27,566 automobiles, and 1,173 other vehicles. The North Portal itself is ranked 3rd of all ports in the prairie provinces for commercial trucking.

“As the most important border crossing in Saskatchewan, North Portal is crucial to the economy of the whole province,” said Canada’s Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino in a press release. “The new, upgraded border crossing will help us further crackdown on smuggling and trafficking while helping trade and travel to keep moving.”

Primary construction to improve the location began in May 2018, and finished in October 2021. Over $26 million was invested into North Portal, with some of the upgrades including the following:

  • Addition of a third processing lane for all vehicles entering Canada.
  • Installation of bi-leveled Primary Inspection Line booths, which are able to accommodate either cars or semi-trucks.
  • Construction of a new canopy with a larger height clearance for semi-trucks and oversized vehicles.
  • Renovation and expansion of the CSBA’s warehouse building for semi-examination.
  • Increasing parking spaces for semi-truck drivers who need to report to the CBSA offices.
  • Improving site security and lighting for better visibility and safety at night.
  • Powering part of the facility using renewable energy, including solar panels.

“These upgrades at North Portal will help the CBSA manage wait times by creating a more efficient traffic flow and border process,” stated Prairie Region Regional Director General of Canada Border Services Brad Wozny in the release. “We’re proud to support industry growth by offering improved services at this future-ready facility.”

All travelers may plan entry to Canada through the North Portal port of entry and check border wait times on this web page.

The corporate chief of the Southern Alberta/Southern Saskatchewan District, for the CBSA, says these border upgrades should lead to shorter wait times for those traveling through the port.

“Previously we had one lane for commercial trucks. Now we have the ability to process three lanes of commercial trucks if required. So that’s a huge, huge difference and impact,” said Scott Kienlen.