PORT HURON, Mich. – Canadian truckers protesting at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, have caused a miles-long traffic jam at the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, Michigan, where commercial traffic was rerouted when the Ambassador Bridge was closed to vehicles entering Canada.
Truckers billing themselves the “Freedom Convoy” began blocking lanes Monday on the Canadian side of the Ambassador Bridge, which links Detroit to Windsor, causing a traffic jam that eventually led to the bridge closing down traffic to Canada.
Exit ramps from the highway to the bridge in Detroit remained closed for a third day on Wednesday, with commercial traffic being rerouted north to Port Huron’s Blue Water Bridge. But the excess traffic trying to cross that bridge has caused a new jam, with traffic backed up nearly nine miles on Interstate 94, leading up to the bridge in Port Huron.
The Ambassador Bridge is typically the busiest crossing on the United States-Canada border, carrying more than 8,000 commercial vehicles on weekdays and nearly 3 million per year. The bridge also carries roughly 27% of all trade between Canada and the United States.
All of that traffic has now begun flowing about 67 miles north to the Blue Water Bridge, which typically only carries just over 2,000 commercial vehicles per day.
The bottleneck has caused angst among Canadian authorities, with Ontario Premier Doug Ford calling the protest at the Ambassador Bridge an “illegal occupation” Wednesday.
“The Ambassador Bridge is one of the most vital trade corridors in our country,” Ford said in a statement. “The damage this is causing to our economy, to people’s jobs and their livelihoods is totally unacceptable. We cannot let this continue.”
The protests have also garnered attention from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the White House, with Trudeau calling the demonstrations “unacceptable” Wednesday.
“Blockades, illegal demonstrations are unacceptable, and are negatively impacting businesses and manufacturers,” Trudeau said during remarks in the House of Commons.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki expressed concerns that the protests could pose “a risk to supply chains.”
The truckers have been demonstrating against Canada’s COVID-19 restrictions since last month, most notably rules that mandate drivers to be vaccinated or face stiff quarantine requirements when entering Canada.
They have vowed to stay put until restrictions are lifted, despite the mounting pressure against them.