That has resulted in general back-ups along Huron Church because truckers who get as far as the bridge find they have to cut back into the centre truck lane, and sometimes other truckers don’t want to let them in.
When several trucks get behind one another trying to do this it can create traffic jams and prevent regular motorists from accessing the bridge, sometimes taking extra minutes or as long as half an hour.
On one recent Tuesday afternoon this queue-jumping ritual went on for hours right through to mid-evening.
It’s a situation acknowledged by police and others who follow border issues.
Brian Masse, NDP MP for Windsor West and the Official Opposition border critic, said while it might appear that trucks are mandated to stay in the centre lane it’s more by custom and etiquette than anything else.
Masse’s office checked with Windsor police and found that while “the signs say to go into the middle lane they (truckers) don’t necessarily have to.”
Masse’s office has fielded calls from irate motorists complaining about the queue-jumping.
He suggested truckers are probably “pretty well aware” of the fact that using the centre lane is not mandatory.
“I don’t have any personal knowledge of this but I’m willing to bet that the truckers all know that,” he said.
Masse agreed the queue-jumping “does affect the flow of traffic.”
He said he personally tries to avoid Huron Church Rd.
When driving his daughter to play hockey in LaSalle “I actually go all the way up to Totten and find that crossing at the light where the beer store is,” he said.
Masse said getting the Herb Gray Parkway border route completed as quickly as possible “is so important because it’s bad - the trucks are really up” in number because the economy has improved.
Bill Anderson, director of the University of Windsor’s Cross-Border Institute, said the traffic issue probably “reflects the inherent problem of having just one lane for trucks to pass through the most important link in the largest bilateral trade flow on earth.”
He said it also “reinforced the need to complete the second crossing.”
Anderson called the situation “ironic.
“While the increased traffic on Huron Church is an inconvenience for those of us travelling in cars, it is also a positive sign that the economy is picking up.”
A representative of the Ontario Trucking Association did not return messages seeking comment.
LETTER - Border truck traffic hasn't increased
RE: Queue-jumping trucks cause back-ups, impede border access article on January 25th.
I read with interest the above noted article and would like to respond with some facts. Cross border truck traffic is not increasing as is stated in your article. Statistics from the Public Border Operators Association indicate that for the first 11 months of 2013 truck traffic is down by 2.28% compared to the same period in 2012. This means that 139,961 less trucks crossed the border between Canada and the United States this year compared to last. In calendar 2012 truck traffic was down 1.25% and in 2011 it was down .2%. If you look at the numbers from 2007 to the present truck numbers continue to fall, with the exception of 2010 when the economy began to recover from the recession. With the continued loss of the manufacturing sector, particularly in southern Ontario we do not expect to see the numbers recover with any great increases. As truck volumes decline, delays in crossing the border have also declined. In fact, traffic flows freely across the Ambassador Bridge approximately 90% of the time. When delays do occur they can be a result of several factors such as: • Computer system failures experienced by Customs’ officials on both sides of the border; these outages require slower processing times for each truck. • Staffing issues at Customs primary inspection lanes result in fewer inspection booths available for processing cars and trucks. • Poor weather and highway closures result in large volumes of commercial trucks arriving at the same time and overwhelm customs capacity. The Ambassador Bridge continues to achieve the permits including Environmental approvals in Canada to construct a second span, not because of volumes, but to accommodate trucks enrolled in the FAST program and travelers enrolled in the NEXUS program. The new bridge will have dedicated lanes for these types of vehicles which will make the crossing more efficient. The construction will also allow for maintenance upgrades on the existing structure.
- Stan Korosec, Director of Security and Canadian Government Relations, Canadian Transit Company