What to know about the traffic delays at Ambassador Bridge, trucker protest over COVID mandate

The Detroit News

Closures at the Ambassador Bridge this week due to protests in Canada have had a ripple effect for commercial drivers and traffic on Michigan freeways.

Here's what you need to know: 

Protests at Ambassador Bridge

What happened: Protesters in Canada blocked access to and from the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor. In Canada on Monday, Windsor police reported heavy traffic blocking the bridge. Both the U.S. and Canadian sides were closed to traffic overnight Monday into Tuesday.

The Ambassador Bridge, in Detroit, February 9, 2022.

What is open: Some lanes of travel opened from Canada onto the bridge just before 6 a.m. Tuesday. Windsor police declared it fully open from Canada just before 6 p.m. Tuesday. On Wednesday, Windsor officials said lanes were occasionally restricted onto the bridge, but access has been retained.

What is closed: The bridge from the U.S. side is inaccessible. The Michigan Department of Transportation closed ramps from both northbound and southbound Interstate 75 on Monday evening and they remain closed.

► Webcams and wait times:Check these links for Ambassador Bridge, Bluewater Bridge, Detroit-Windsor Tunnel

Alternative routes to Canada

Detroit-Windsor Tunnel: Non-commercial traffic can cross from Detroit into Windsor via the tunnel. 

Blue Water Bridge: Authorities have directed commercial traffic in the U.S. to Port Huron. The increase in traffic is causing delays, and protests have been threatened for Wednesday in Sarnia, according to media reports, on the Canadian side of the bridge.

Who is protesting? 

The city of Windsor on Wednesday said about 100 people are protesting at the bridge. Daily demonstrations are staged by the so-called Freedom Truck Convoy centered in Ottawa, where demonstrators have used hundreds of parked trucks to paralyze parts of the capital for more than 10 days.

Protesters have said they will not leave until all vaccine mandates and COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, and have been calling for weeks for the removal of Trudeau’s government, though most of the restrictive measures were put in place by provincial governments.

When will the protests end?

Windsor officials on Wednesday said public safety is their top priority and they have issued citations for unlawful acts as well as made arrests among protesters in Windsor.

Police resources and discussions with "all levels of government" are continuing, according to Windsor officials, but specifics on how to end the protest were not released Wednesday.

"Action will have to be taken to open this bridge," Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said, without offering details.

Dilkens said police had not removed people for fear of inflaming the situation and causing a larger protest. "“I'll be brutally honest: You are trying to have a rational conversation and not everyone on the ground is a rational actor," the mayor said. “Police are doing what is right by taking a moderate approach, trying to sensibly work through this situation where everyone can walk away, nobody gets hurt, and the bridge can open.”

How to monitor delays

MDOT cameras and traffic information at the bridges is available on its MI Drive map. The Canadian government offers hourly updates on crossing times online.