PORTAL - A new port of entry facility opened Tuesday at Portal.
The U.S. General Services Administration built the facility, which it leases to the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Located on the border of North Dakota and Saskatchewan, the new port facility will strengthen border security and facilitate the movement of legal international trade and travel.
Last year at Portal, Customs and Border Protection processed more than 104,000 southbound cars, up 15 percent from the previous year, and more than 105,000 trucks, a 35 percent increase. The 234 buses processed were up 9 percent.
Submitted Photo • A 300-foot, south-facing walkway called Solar Street is designed for energy efficiency. It has a high window-to-wall ratio with high shading coefficient glazing and with an exterior adjustable shading system to take advantage of passive solar heating.
The new port replaces a facility built in 1931. The original facility had one passenger lane and one commercial lane for processing incoming traffic. The new port features three commercial vehicle processing lanes and two-car passenger lanes. Some lanes can handle passenger or commercial for added flexibility in the operation.
In addition, the new facility has enhanced secondary screening areas, a Free and Secure Trade (FAST) enrollment center, a conference room, three detention cells, physical fitness/training room, indoor firearms range and expanded public and employee operational areas. Hours of operation and staffing remain the same.
"GSA is proud to transform this port into an energy-efficient facility despite the region's extreme climate," said Susan Damour, GSA Rocky Mountain regional administrator in a prepared statement.
The main port building is expected to save about 25 percent a year on electricity consumption and 90 percent in natural gas as compared to a 2003 baseline that was set by GSA. This translates to an annual electrical utility cost savings to taxpayers of approximately $10,000, combined with estimated natural gas savings of about $15,000 per year.
For GSA to achieve LEED silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, the main port building had to include several energy efficient features. Among the features are a 300-foot-long, south-facing walkway called "Solar Street" for capturing solar heat and a cool roof that reduces the cooling energy load, provides reduced air pollution and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.