HOULTON, Maine — Whenever the Canadian border reopens in Maine, travelers who are accustomed to going through the Limestone border crossing will need to find an alternative.
Effective July 1, the Limestone border crossing, located about 13 miles from Caribou, will close down to undergo reconstruction to the station. The construction will be overseen by the federal General Services Administration and is projected to be completed in March of 2022.
“It’s an old-school style building,” said Mike Niezgoda, a spokesman for the Custom and Border Protection in the Northeast United States. “So it’s got to be reconstructed and updated to accommodate modern travel crossings.”
The closure of the Limestone site represents the second closure of a border crossing in Aroostook County this year. In April, CBP announced that the border crossing in Monticello would also be temporarily closed due to traffic inactivity. That crossing is currently scheduled to reopen in October of this year.
Even before the pandemic, Limestone was one of the least busy border crossings in The County. According to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2019 Limestone saw slightly more than 13,900 passenger vehicles cross at its location, compared with 366,000 for Madawaska and 221,000 for Houlton. In 2020, Limestone’s numbers dwindled to only 3,800. So far in 2021, only 479 have used the Limestone crossing.
Those living in the immediate area wishing to use another border crossing may use the one located in Hamlin, which is 14 miles away from Limestone and is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Fort Fairfield port of entry is also located 15 miles away and is open 24/7.
“Upgrades and modernization improvements to our ports of entry not only streamline efficiency and travel but provides for improved service during higher volume periods,” said Jennifer De La O, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP, in a press release statement. “Should you have any questions please contact Port Director, Christopher Doughty, Houlton Port of Entry at 207-532-2131.”