Blue Water Bridge construction not causing border delays: Federal Bridge Corporation

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The Federal Bridge Corporation (FBC) that owns, manages and operates the Blue Water Bridge is countering suggestions that ongoing rehabilitation work is responsible for border delays and reported traffic concerns in neighboring areas.

Senior communications specialist Alexandre Gauthier says traffic and wait times at the span — which connects Point Edward, Ont. to Port Huron, Mich. — are similar to those that existed before the project started on July 5.

Traffic is reduced to a single lane in either direction as the project continues.

But Mike Bradley, mayor of neighboring Sarnia, says it is “a real stretch to suggest this [construction] doesn’t have an impact.”

Picture of Bluewater Bridge
(Photo: iStock) previously reported local police are taking a “zero-tolerance” approach to crack down on commercial vehicles that use residential streets to bypass the lineups leading to the border crossing, while U.S.-bound truck drivers complained of long delays.

“The amazing coincidence between the bridge work and traffic backups is severe enough to bring in the OPP and Sarnia Police to enforce the rules,” Bradley said.

“Traffic is not backed up on the bridge all the way to the toll gates. It shows that traffic is not backed up because of the lane reduction,” Gauthier said.

He added that if vehicles are waiting on the bridge, it is because they are waiting for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials to let them through. And if they are waiting at the toll gates, they are lined up to pay tolls.

The U.S. CBP website showed a 45-minute delay for commercial vehicles at noon on Aug. 1.

Bev Hand, mayor of the Village of Point Edward, agreed with FBC’s Gauthier.

“Lineups have been an existing problem, there were lineups even before construction started,” she said. “It’s not consistently a backup. It’s ebbing and flowing. The time of day makes a difference.”

Hand did say citizens have been complaining about trucks blocking access to local exits on Hwy. 402 .

Having two bridges acts as redundancy

The Blue Water Bridge complex features two spans – the First Blue Water Bridge (FBWB) and the Second Blue Water Bridge (SBWB). Rehabilitation work is underway on the FBWB, and traffic has been rerouted to the SBWB.

Gauthier said having two bridges acts as a redundancy. When one span is closed, the other takes up the rest of the traffic. But a FAST lane was closed in the process.

He added that there may be more conversations to be had about wait times that were present before the work began.

Point Edward’s Hand said education and messaging is helping keep trucks away from residential streets. Drivers caught attempting to sneak past the lineup are ticketed by law enforcement officials and escorted to the back of the queue.

And she is already looking to the future: “The work is supposed to be completed by Oct. 5. Then we are good for 10 years.”

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Leo Barros is the associate editor of Today’s Trucking. He has been a journalist for more than two decades, holds a CDL and has worked as a longhaul truck driver. Reach him at

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  • I’ve crossed the BWB many times in both my commercial truck and my personal truck and I can tell you that the incompetence lay with toll trolls NOT the CBP. This is just typical gubbermint finger pointing.

  • I’ve crossed the bluewater bridge every afternoon for the last 5 years, and haven’t had to wait this long as I have since the bridge went down for construction. I average 5 minutes tops from Canada toll to usa customs and cleared, now its average 2 to 3 hours.
    Saying nothing changed is straight up B.S. and Saying any different is a lack of knowledge.
    You can jump in the truck and sit for a few hours to see for yourself…. maybe seeing it, things could change,

  • To say instruction doesn’t extend wait time is not accurate
    I agree with other comments that it’s at the toll plaza and on the bridge. Tolls never stop flow of cars but stop flow of trucks. 2 weeks ago returning to Canada there was NO trucks at US customs 5 trucks in truck lane and over 40 cars in truck lane. Bridge was over the top backed up with cars. And kept coming.
    I cross the bridge daily in. Both directions
    To say there is no problem is false

  • I have been crossing the Bluewater Bridge almost daily and I can tell you that the construction has caused huge delays going into the States. (Coming into Canada hasn’t been a problem at all)

    The delays going to the States are largely because they have so few lanes open. Then add to that the fact that they moved the Nexus Lane to the far right. I have Nexus but often have to wait over an hour in order to get around the cars lined up at the 2 open car lanes.

    The Canadian side typically has 5-6 lanes open plus the Nexus Lane. That’s the biggest reason the back up is so much shorter going to Canada VS going to the States

  • Traffic is being ‘batched’ from the Canadian side of the bridge with trucks receiving preferential treatment.
    We had visitors who wanted to go to Port Huron, we looked on line and were presented with ‘normal traffic’ and ‘minimal delays’ so we went.
    We sat in line at the Sarnia toll booths for more than an hour before we decided to call it a day at the exit at the money exchange. Never made it to the toll booths.
    Unless you can go over before 9:00 am, lineups are horrendous.

  • This is a fantasy piece. Traffic WB into the US is regularly backed up one to three hours. Those who have to travel the bridge say “you can go to Canada. But you can’t get home again”. It’s a nightmare.

    • AMEN! Dianne’s right. Waited 1.5 hrs last nite to get almost to the bridge westbound, and facing another hour to get over, turned around and drove 1.5 hrs to Windsor to the tunnel.
      Just amazing incompetence.