Windsor police intercept convoy 'suspected' of heading to Ambassador Bridge, mayor says

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Windsor police on Tuesday intercepted a convoy of at least a half-dozen trucks suspected of heading back to the Ambassador Bridge just days after it reopened, Mayor Drew Dilkens said. 

The mayor noted the convoy during a Wednesday afternoon briefing in which he sought to reassure small businesses and neighbors located or traveling near the approach of the bridge that the remaining barriers left in place after a nearly week-long blockade are still necessary. 

A return to normal traffic flow is "not yet possible," he said. 

Windsor Police Chief Pamela Mizuno noted Wednesday that the convoy of "six or seven" trucks were about 155 miles from Windsor on Tuesday when they were intercepted on the 401 westbound freeway. 

The truck drivers said they were headed to Ottawa, added Deputy Police Chief Jason Bellaire, which is back the other way, he noted. 

"This convoy has since circled back, traveling eastbound on the 401," Mizuno said.  

Huron Church Road, the approach to the trade crossing which runs 24 hours a day between Detroit and Windsor, was blocked off for nearly a week until reopening late Sunday

Dilkens on Wednesday spoke directly to residents and businesses "frustrated or upset" over the barriers along Huron Church Road. 

"Let me be clear; this remains a national security situation that prevents police from simply reopening Huron Church Road to regular traffic at this time," Dilkens said.

Bellaire has told the City Council that the "natural movement flow of traffic on our roadways has to be temporarily reconsideredto protect the flow of goods and traffic across the bridge. 

On Wednesday, Bellaire said opening Huron Church Road to reduce the impacts on businesses is a priority. "That said, we're balancing that against the needs we have right now for national security and the information we're getting regarding activity across Canada in terms of protests at public infrastructure."

"We're very concerned" that there will be other attempts, Bellaire said. 

More:Ontario to end COVID-19 vaccine passport system March 1

Impact:How long Ambassador Bridge blockade will be felt after reopening

Semi trucks are moved down the road by police, opening the road to the Ambassador bridge in Windsor, Ontario, on Saturday, February 12, 2022.

The East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group estimated Monday the blockade resulted in a $300 million loss to automakers, including lost wages of $145 million, mostly in Michigan and Ontario.

On Wednesday, Dilkens described the problem as "ongoing."

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection website on Wednesday showed a 38-minute crossing time at the Ambassador Bridge, longer than the 25-minute average.

Webcams and wait times:Check these links for Ambassador Bridge, Blue Water Bridge

More:Windsor police arrest 46 in connection with Ambassador Bridge protest

jdickson@detroitnews.com