Highway and transportation

SR-543 widening and border crossing improvements, I-5 to international boundary

Location: Blaine
General contractor: IMCO General Construction
Owner/developer: Washington State Department of Transportation
Engineer: Washington State Department of Transportation
Contract amount: $33 million

Photo courtesy of IMCO General Construction
IMCO General Construction built two bridges and installed retaining and noise walls as part of its improvement project on state Route 543 in Blaine.

The Blaine border crossing between Washington state and British Columbia sees the third-highest volume of passenger traffic and the fourth-highest volume of commercial trucks along the entire U.S.-Canada border.

Through this $33 million project, the IMCO team widened the highway and built a new overpass to relieve congestion, improve safety and facilitate truck movement across the border, and improved state Route 543 through Blaine.

Among IMCO’s innovative techniques was the use of GPS technology for precise machine control, saving $150,000 in project labor and $100,000 in project surveying. IMCO’s value-engineering plan deleted a temporary road and saved taxpayers another $300,000.

With its GPS technology and value-engineering approaches, the IMCO team completed the project a year ahead of schedule and worked 140,123 safe hours with zero time-loss accidents, despite the high volume of traffic traveling through the project.

The construction and design of the highway directs commercial and border traffic directly through this corridor instead of mixing it with the local residents, helping the city of Blaine maintain its small-town character.

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