Blue Water Bridge backups delaying truckers for hours

Posted at 12:33 PM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 12:33:54-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Protests over COVID-19 vaccine and quarantine mandates in Canada continue to disrupt international commerce.

The Ambassador Bridge is shut down completely with truckers being told to take the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron.

Non-commercial travelers are advised to take the Windsor Tunnel to get to Ontario.

Traffic is bottle-necked on the Blue Water Bridge.

7 Action News spoke with several truckers who first made a stop at Love's Truck Stop before getting in line to head across and brave the backup.

With 35 years of experience on the road, Canadian truck driver Gordon Connell said 911 is the first and last time he's seen lines and delays come close to this.

On Tuesday, he said it took him six hours to cross the Ambassador Bridge. Connell said he was also originally scheduled to travel across it Wednesday. However, since the Ambassador Bridge is closed for the day, it left his load of auto parts with few options.

"As of this morning, our company had 27 or more trucks stuck on this side of the border yesterday. So, we have customers that aren't getting their loads and they're wondering why," he explained.

The reason for the backups is a protest in Ottawa, which also popped up in Windsor. Canadian police say demonstrators are intentionally causing the backups.

They oppose their government’s vaccine and quarantine mandates.

With the Ambassador Bridge shut down, it's led to a slow crawl on the Blue Water Bridge. Canadian trucker Jim McNutt said he sympathizes with demonstrators and embraces the delays.

"It's all about our civil liberties and our civil rights. But we're being mandated to death," McNutt explained.

Drivers tell 7 Action News the amount of time they can be on the road is limited. They have to rest before they can keep traveling, which can result in them losing money and delayed shipments for businesses.

"Right now, the Ontario Provincial Police Service is responsible for the 402 Highway and they are dealing with protesters who are on the road. So, they have all the specifics in regard to that," Sarnia Police Service Constable John Sottosanti told 7 Action News.

"We are in communications with them to ensure if they need help or if there's impact coming to the city and obviously, vice versa as well," he explained.

In Port Huron, Love's truck stop general manager Travis Smith said, "(It's) just been crazy. (We're about) three times as busy than we've normally had on this time of the week. Just a lot of truckers looking for places to eat, places to sit, so they can get going," he explained.