WA-List » Border Crossings

Border Crossings

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Transportation

Do you have the desire to measure your road trips in kilometers, visit a provincial park, and read signs in French?  If you live in the evergreen state you don’t need to travel far to get a taste of Canada. Washington is one of 13 US states sharing a boundary with our neighbor to the north.

Along that 427 mile border, we have thirteen official road crossings. (That’s actually fewer than Vermont, which packs 15 crossings within a mere 90 miles!)  There are also five railroad crossings, four ferry crossings, several international airports, and probably quite a few unmapped mole tunnels and deer paths on the 49th parallel.

For today’s list, though, we kept to the road crossings — places where you can legally drive across the border.  We arranged them by longitude, east to west, and added a few details.  It’s no surprise, for instance, that The I-5 crossing at Blaine (pictured here) is the busiest in the state, but did you know the Point Roberts checkpoint was awash in traffic, too?

Want a closer look?  There are traffic webcams on some of the Whatcom County crossings.  What do you need if you plan to cross the border?  Here’s the WSDOT page.

BORDER CROSSINGS IN WASHINGTON

Longitude
(west)
Road (US)*
Washington
location
Canadian
location
Daily open
hours
Personal
Vehicles
(2011)
117° 17′ 58″ State Route 31 Metaline Falls Nelway 16 28,204
117° 37′ 30″ Northport-Waneta Road Boundary Waneta 8 72,107
117° 49′ 53″ State Route 25 Frontier Paterson 24 46,313
118° 13′ 26″ US 395 Laurier Cascade 16 52,889
118° 30′ 12″ State Route 21 Danville Carson 16 63,034
118° 45′ 40″ Customs Rd Ferry Midway 8 10,199
119° 27′ 46″ US 97 Oroville Osoyoos 24 307,231
119° 40′ 16″ Similkameen Road Nighthawk Chopaka 8 11,135
122° 15′ 55″ State Route 9 Sumas Abbotsford-Huntingdon 24 1,036,379
122° 29′ 6″ State Route 539 Lynden Aldergrove 16 693,068
122° 44′ 8″ State Route 543 Blaine Pacific Highway 24 n/a
122° 45′ 23″ Interstate 5 Blaine Douglas 24 4,288,924
123° 4′ 6″ Tyee Drive Point Roberts Boundary Bay 24 1,093,910

*The roads change names north of the border.  Ten of these become numbered British Columbia highways.

NOTES:  The rightmost column is meant to show the relative traffic volume of each crossing.  It counts only personal vehicles, and not the people in them or the buses and commercial trucks you can’t see over to estimate your wait time in the customs line.  This list also omits three former crossings at Point Roberts (Meadow Lane), Molson (Old Railroad Road), and Chesaw (Bolster Road); they’ve been open 0 hours per day for decades now.

SOURCES: To compile this list we consulted two recent, detailed road atlases, made visual checks and longitude verifications using Google Earth, and consulted the websites of the US Customs and Border Protection and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. We also crossed the border at six of these locations on past trips, including one by bicycle and another in which a Canadian border agent ran into the road wildly waving his arms at us in the rear-view mirror when the lightly-marked boundary surprised us a block earlier than we anticipated.  All was well after an international U-turn.

PHOTO of the Peace Arch at the Blaine-Douglas crossing by Waqcku.

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