EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The State of Arizona has allocated $8.9 million for the construction of a new commercial border crossing between Douglas and Agua Prieta, Mexico.

Dedicated to cargo processing, the port of entry 4.5 miles west of the existing Raul H. Castro border crossing will divert trucks away from the urban sprawl and make it easier for pedestrians and passenger cars to go back and forth, revitalizing both cities’ downtowns, local leaders said.

“This investment will help our city modernize this vitally important trade route; this investment will promote trade and facilitate cross-border travel for visitors and tourists, major economic drivers for our community,” said Douglas Mayor Donald Huish.

The state money comes in addition to the $237.6 million earmarked for the new crossing back in February through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Arizona, said the act set aside another $202.5 million for the modernization of the Castro port of entry. Those funds will be used after the completion of the new commercial crossing.

“The city has agreed to donate an 80-acre site for construction of the new commercial port to move operations, including the movement of hazardous materials, west of Downtown. This second project will begin after the new commercial facility is completed,” Synema said in a news release.

Arizona border crossings (Graphic courtesy Cochise County)

Both government officials concur that the Castro port of entry is too old and too small to simultaneously handle commercial and passenger traffic. The U.S. Department of Transportation in 2021 reported nearly 29,000 cargo trucks and 1.22 million passenger cars used the land crossing originally built 90 years ago when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president.

“A modernized port in Douglas will allow for increased trade, tourism, transportation and broadband,” outgoing Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said this week. “And beyond business, many people in Arizona have family ties to Mexico that go back generations. With better transportation options, these relationships and ties will flourish.”

Construction of the new port is slated for 2026 with the feasibility study already completed and the infrastructure design in progress, according to Cochise County officials.

Remodeling of the Raul H. Castro border crossing is scheduled for 2028 and will include adding three pedestrian inspection stations, three additional passenger vehicle inspection booths (for a total of 10) and a covered secondary inspection area where vehicles can be thoroughly searched for contraband.