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2.0 Transportation System

This Chapter describes the road network, regulatory framework, and truck fleets operating along the western border.

2.1 Road Network

The major components of the road network serving the western border region are shown in Figure 2-1a. For the United States, this network consists of all Interstate System (IS) highways, the National Highway System (NHS), and the National Network (NN) highways. For Canada, this network consists of all highways with RTAC weight limits south of Highway 16 and any other Canadian highways joining U.S. NHS and NN highways.

The road networks of the western regions of both the United States and Canada, similar to the railways, were built to serve the historical dominant east-west linkages of the two countries. The U.S. - Canada Free Trade Agreement, and now the NAFTA, emphasize a north-south orientation. Transportation movements along and across the western border are influenced by changing competition: (1) among West Coast ports (Seattle, Vancouver, Prince Rupert), (2) between Canadian and U.S. railroads (Canadian Pacific/Canadian National versus BN), (3) between truck and rail, (4) between inland ports (Duluth and Thunder Bay), (5) among eastern terminals and gateways (Chicago, Toronto, Montreal), and (6) between Canadian and U.S. routings. Examples are:

Some trucks move in-transit between eastern and western Canada via U.S. routes through Duluth, Minnesota to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan or through Minneapolis and Chicago to Detroit or Port Huron, Michigan.

Potash is moved by truck from Esterhazy, Saskatchewan to Northgate, North Dakota using a private road to cross the border for trans-shipment to the BN. This operation provides competition to Canadian railways regarding potash haul to the United States.

Commodities are moved by truck between Alberta and Shelby, Montana for intermodal trans-shipment on the BN. These movements can benefit from utilizing Canadian vehicles and weight limits operating under special weight exemptions provided by ISTEA and Montana for this section of I-15.

International containers are moved by truck between Vancouver and Seattle. This operation often utilizes vehicles operating under indivisible load permits in Washington. These movements reflect a variety of competitive conditions between Canadian and U.S. ports and a

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