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John Mahoney's Free-fire Zone
John Mahoney
John Mahoney
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is editor of the Log Cabin Chronicles.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 04.21.05
Fool's Hollow, Quebec

JOHN MAHONEY

Thank God they're not taking MY house

DERBY LINE, VT | Residents here breathed a collective sigh of relief on Wednesday when they finally saw what the US government has in mind for the revamped Customs/Immigration facility on I-91.

No one will lose their home, no business will be bulldozed out of existence if the General Services Administration sticks to one of the three alternate proposals it introduced at the show and tell session at the Village Hall.

There are still some local concerns over truck noise and night lighting levels, however.

Basically, the government proposes to update the 40-year-old I-91 Port of Entry facility to handle greatly increased commercial traffic and to deal with the heightened security concerns being put in place since 9/11.

You can view the three options proposed by the GSA here:

Option 1
Option 2
Option 3

None of the GSA community relations team on hand at the show and tell and the evening feedback session would talk actual dollars and cents. It would be "premature" said one GSA employee.

However, the ballpark project figure of $25 million has been used. The GSA has already allocated some initial design money - the rest will be a line-item allocation that will need Congressional approval.

I was told that construction could begin as early as autumn 2006 but that the following spring would be more likely.

Under the three proposals on the table, only two vacant buildings and several acres of farmland will be purchased and incorporated into the project's footprint.

Currently, 600-800 commercial trucks a day flow through the Port of Derby Line, making it one of the busiest in the Northeast. At peak times the traffic stacks up for several miles into Canada on Autoroute 55 - the northern name for I-91.

Canada is also upgrading its facilities - the same traffic backup occurs at time on northbound I-91.

"Now", said one Homeland Security agent who did not want to be identified, "all they have to do is reengineer the I-91 entrance/exit south of the village to get all the traffic off Caswell Avenue and off the main street. But that's another issue…"

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