Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we will modernize two land ports of entry in Minnesota:
- The Grand Portage Land Port of Entry is within the Grand Portage Indian Reservation about five miles northeast of Grand Portage, Minnesota. The port serves passenger vehicles and pedestrians crossing between the U.S. and Neebing, Ontario, Canada. The route has allowed Native Americans, explorers and voyagers to bypass high falls, cascades and gorges for thousands of years.
- The project at the International Falls Land Port of Entry will replace the existing, obsolete facility with a new, state of the art facility. The design will make a distinct architectural statement that is also conducive to efficient travel, trade, and commerce. The redesign will also address traffic flow, port security, and inspections.
The Grand Portage LPOE is the second-busiest port in Minnesota. The redesign and modernization will better support international commerce functions and shorten vehicle throughput processing time.
The International Falls LPOE is the highest traffic volume of any port in Minnesota. In 2021, the port facilitated over $12 billion worth of trade. By redesigning and expanding the port’s infrastructure, the port will be able to accommodate higher volumes of trade.
Jobs and economic impact
The Grand Portage LPOE has more traffic volume during the summer months. The new facility will incorporate drive-through lanes that benefit the local community by processing more vehicles. The port is an access point to several local businesses, including a local clothing and souvenir store, the Grand Portage State Park, a local lodge and casino, the Grand Portage National Monument Heritage Center, and the town of Grand Marais.
U.S. and Canadian citizens work at a paper mill and use the International Falls LPOE to commute daily. The region’s natural beauty and limitless outdoor recreational opportunities attract a steady stream of tourists year-round.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion
Throughout the design and construction of the Grand Portage LPOE, we will engage with the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Grand Portage Reservation Tribal Council, and Grand Portage Band members and community to incorporate tribal values and interests. We will also meet with small businesses and include subcontracting set-asides for Native American Businesses, Minority Business Enterprises, and Female Business Enterprises.
We have facilitated multiple scoping meetings with the public, local stakeholders, and businesses to provide information about the International Falls LPOE replacement. We will continue to hear questions or concerns about community impacts.
The Grand Portage LPOE will meet LEED Gold standards and be Net-Zero Ready. The new port will have technologies to reduce energy use by at least 20% and avoid associated greenhouse gas emissions. We will install electrical vehicle charging stations for an 80% reduction in fossil fuel-sourced energy.
The International Falls LPOE will meet LEED Gold certification or higher. We plan to make use of porous pavements and reduce other surfaces that don’t let water pass through. We also plan to use vegetative swales and revegetation, and protect and restore the shoreline of Rainy River. We will use environmentally preferable products, protect and conserve water, and enhance indoor air quality.
The Grand Portage LPOE building systems need to be updated. Upgraded infrastructure enhances U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s inspection techniques. The construction of a new port facility will have better safety and security for everyone who works at or uses the facility.
The International Falls LPOE is too small for the number of visitors it serves. The project will improve security challenges by:
- Modernizing buildings and consolidating operations.
- Creating primary and secondary inspection areas for commercial vehicles, passenger vehicles, and buses.
- Installing a gamma ray inspection technology building or space for a mobile unit.
- Designing parking lots with adequate spaces and lighting.
- Implementing security upgrades to accommodate additional security measures.
The new Grand Portage LPOE will reduce congestion and enhance and expedite the flow of traffic through the facility. The site layout and landscaping design are sensitive to the adjacent state park to the north and culturally significant areas. Year-round tourism will also benefit as travel between the U.S. and Canada becomes more accessible and faster.
The newly designed port at International Falls will:
- Increase vehicle and pedestrian processing efficiency and capacity.
- Reduce traffic queues and delays in both directions.
- Minimize conflict points among passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, trains, buses, and pedestrians.
- Add a functional secondary inspection area for commercial vehicles.
- Accommodate safety, security, technology, and future demand.