Windsor-Detroit Ambassador Bridge access resumes after trucker protest blocked traffic

Click to play video: 'Protesters opposing COVID mandates block crucial Canada-U.S. trade route'
Protesters opposing COVID mandates block crucial Canada-U.S. trade route
WATCH: Protesters opposing COVID mandates block crucial Canada-U.S. trade route – Feb 8, 2022

Windsor Police said Tuesday morning that the Ambassador Bridge, which connects the southwestern Ontario city with Detroit, had reopened to U.S.-bound traffic, but heavy delays continue.

Access to the bridge had been blocked Monday due to demonstrations in solidarity with the so-called “Freedom Convoy” protests in Ottawa. But just before 6 a.m. Tuesday, police said that U.S.-bound traffic was now able to access the border crossing via Wyandotte Street, which connects to the border crossing station from the north.

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The Michigan Department of Transportation said the Ambassador Bridge remained closed on the U.S. side. The department said people travelling to Canada should use the Port Huron crossing which connects that American city with Sarnia, Ont.

Click to play video: 'Truck drivers, protestors block traffic at busiest Canada-US cross-border'
Truck drivers, protestors block traffic at busiest Canada-US cross-border

Traffic on Huron Church Road in Windsor, where the border crossing station is directly situated, remained congested Tuesday. Police continue to request that motorists avoid the area.

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In a tweet just before 7 p.m., Windsor Police said northbound traffic on Huron Church Road from Tecumseh Road West was blocked off.

“Ambassador Bridge can still be accessed via Wyandotte Street West,” the tweet read.

“Avoid the area if possible.”

According to the CBSA website, by 4:30 p.m., no delay was reported at the Windsor and Detroit Tunnel crossing, while travelers attempting to cross at Blue Water Bridge could expect a 2 hour and 15 minute wait time.

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Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens had his own warning for demonstrators.

Click to play video: 'Ambassador Bridge linking Windsor to Detroit sees delays amid trucker protest in Canadian city'
Ambassador Bridge linking Windsor to Detroit sees delays amid trucker protest in Canadian city

“Blocking the international border crossing will not be tolerated for very long,” he told The Canadian Press in a phone interview.

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Dilkens said he wanted at least one lane reopened to allow traffic into Canada.

The closure is also difficult for local residents, who have expressed their frustration at the situation, he said.

“I, like many, just want to see these people go away, and I’d love to go in there and round them all up and throw them in jail,” Dilkens said. “But that’s not sensible, that’s how I viscerally feel.”


Federal transport minister Omar Alghabra told reporters Tuesday morning that the disruption has wide-reaching impacts.

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“Such blockades will have serious implications on our economy, on our supply chain. I’ve already heard from automakers, heard from food grocers,” he said.

“This is having a serious impact on people’s livelihood and our economy.”

Alghabra said he reached out to his provincial counterpart, Ontario transport minister Caroline Mulroney, and offered his assistance and he’s also spoken with Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk.

He said even though the border is impacted, because the demonstration is not directly on the border at this time, the matter remains under municipal and provincial jurisdiction.

Premier Doug Ford tweeted Tuesday morning that the bridge is not only a “vital trade artery between Canada and the U.S.,” but that many essential workers, including health-care workers, also rely on it to get to and from work.

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Essex County OPP said at 8 p.m. Monday that the bridge was “not accessible in both directions going into the United States as well as entering into Canada” due to traffic being blocked on Huron Church Road. Windsor Police suggested using the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel instead (except for commercial vehicles) or cross through Sarnia.

As mentioned, city police said Tuesday morning that U.S.-bound traffic was now able to access the Ambassador Bridge crossing via Wyandotte Street.

In an email to Global News just before 11 p.m. Monday, Darius Goze, a public information officer with the Windsor Police, said there were approximately 200 protesters and 200 vehicles at the bridge.

“No tickets and no arrests have been made at this time,” the email read.

Asked whether police would intervene to force protesters to leave, Goze said, “Only the level of intervention necessary will be used to ensure the safety of the public and to maintain peace, order and public security.”

“The use of force is always a last resort,” he continued.

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The protest in Windsor comes after solidarity demonstrations were held in cities across the country over the weekend.

In Toronto, two men were arrested on Saturday in connection with the protests.

Meanwhile, crowds of protesters have remained in Ottawa for more than a week, blocking traffic and camping out the city’s downtown core.

More than a thousand tickets have been issued, and Ottawa Police say dozens of criminal investigations have been launched.

The demonstrations, initially aimed at denouncing vaccine mandates for truck drivers crossing the Canada-U.S. border, have since morphed into a protest against a variety of COVID-19 restrictions and the federal government.

In Windsor, police said anyone “found committing crimes will be investigated and charged.”

with files from The Canadian Press

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