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U.S. prepares to restrict remote border crossings

FOREST CITY, N.B. -- Residents of five border communities will have to be sure they don't get trapped on the wrong...

FOREST CITY, N.B. — Residents of five border communities will have to be sure they don’t get trapped on the wrong side of the border as U.S. Customs prepares to close remote border crossings at night

Five rural crossings along the Maine-New Brunswick border are part of the 38 remote crossings to be closed at nights. Crossings between Forest City Maine and Forest City, N.B., Orient and Fosterville, Monticello and Bloomfield, Easton and River de Chute, Hamlin and Grand Falls will be affected by the change, which aims to tighten security.

Gates and surveillance equipment have already been installed by U.S. Customs agents and were scheduled to be used starting next Friday. Due to delays, however, the actual date the crossings will close is not known.

“The tentative date was March 15, but we are not going to be ready to meet that date. It will be postponed for a time,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection acting area port director Chuck Pelletier says.

The new policy has upset residents on both sides of the border.

“My concern is the impact it will have on surrounding areas,” Tobique-Mactaquac MP Andy Savoy says. “Business people in the constituency are concerned because commerce is not a nine-to-five production, it takes place day and night.”

For the three smaller locations, Monticello, Easton and Hamlin, Mr. Pelletier expected the borders would begin closing at night within the next six weeks. At that time, Monticello crossing will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET Monday through Saturday. Easton and Hamlin will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET seven days a week.

Mr. Savoy was pleased to hear extended hours were being evaluated at two of the crossings. “I think it’s a good start. It shows a willingness to address the people concerned,” Mr. Savoy said.

The decision to restrict border access at remote crossings came in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon on Sept 11, 2001.

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