North America’s busiest border crossing was shut down on Monday Feb. 7, after scores of truckers, protesting COVID-19 measures they say are government “overreach”, blocked the Ambassador Bridge linking Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario.
Demonstrators waving Canadian flags and sporting signs bearing messages of freedom arrived on the bridge on Monday afternoon.
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in Essex County issued a press release on Monday evening stating that as of 8 p.m. the bridge was “not accessible” in either direction. The OPP cautioned drivers to avoid the area if possible and advised those needing to cross the border to use the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia, Ontario, roughly 96 miles (155 kilometers) northeast of the crossing.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) told drivers on Monday afternoon to cross into Detroit using a tunnel located less than 2 miles east of the bridge and recommended commercial vehicles to reroute to the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia.
In a statement the CBSA said, “The CBSA recognizes border disruptions affect both travelers and industry and we are working to restore normal border operations at this port of entry as quickly as possible.”
Detroit officials said the Ambassador bridge was closed at about 8 p.m., stranding thousands of truckers on Detroit roads, according to Fox 2 Detroit.
One trucker who was not participating in the protest and who was caught up in the fray told Fox News, “Can’t get upset. I’m not the only guy stuck out here. Fortunately, I do have a sleeper cabin. I feel bad for those drivers that don’t have that option.”
Officials in Michigan are advising commercial trucks to head to the Blue Water Bridge as well.
Business leaders are concerned that the blockade will have a detrimental effect on the supply chain.
Chuck Lippstreu, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association, told The Detroit News, “Any delay or disruption in the supply chain creates problems, not just for agriculture but the state economy.”
The Windsor police are reporting that U.S. bound traffic is now moving as of Tuesday morning and that the bridge can be accessed from the Wyandotte St. West entrance.