BLAINE, Wash. — The line-up of semi trucks and trailers looking to make the crossing into Canada via State Route 543 (aka the truck crossing) extended onto I-5 for about 2.5 miles from the SR543 exit as of 4pm today, August 6th. This was about 1.5 miles north of the Birch Bay-Lynden Road interchange.
The crossing delay and subsequent traffic backups are the result of a work slowdown by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) personnel who are negotiating a new contract.
Washington State Patrol Trooper Rocky Oliphant said they hoped the line of trucks on I-5 would be contained to the right shoulder but he was hearing reports that both lanes were blocked in some sections. WSP troopers are in the area in an effort to keep traffic moving.
Washington State Department of Transportation sent out the following notification about 2:45pm today to truck drivers who subscribe to their Freight Alert service.
FREIGHT TRAVEL ALERT – Large backups on SR 543 and northbound I-5, expect delays
LOCATION: Northbound I-5 at milepost 274 and State Route 543 from I-5 to Canadian border
DETAILS: The Blaine, Washington Police Department and the Washington State Patrol are advising of longer than normal backups for freight traffic attempting to get across the border to Canada. Travelers should expect long delays. At this time, traffic is backed up from the border to milepost 274 on northbound I-5 and is expected to grow.
Drivers who would typically use I-5 to go northbound to the Blaine area are advised to use alternate routes and to expect long delays as those routes will be carrying larger than normal volumes.
Sumas is experiencing experiencing similar traffic congestion through town since their main arterial leads to a truck border crossing.
There is no estimate for how long these impacts will continue or the extent of their impacts.