Truck drivers and other protesters rallying against Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate blocked Detroit’s Ambassador Bridge Monday night, forcing commercial and passenger vehicles to take long detours.
The bridge connecting Canada and the United States was closed shortly before 8 p.m. Monday. The blockade of the Ambassador Bridge was one of multiple protests taking place across Canada loosely connected to the Freedom Convoy in the capital city of Ottawa. Protests also blocked traffic overnight Monday at the U.S.-Canada border crossing in Coutts, Alberta.
The Freedom Convoy movement began in late January to protest Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement for cross-border truckers.
The Ambassador Bridge was reportedly reopened early Tuesday morning to passenger traffic on the Canadian side, but the Michigan Department of Transportation said the U.S. side of the bridge was still shut down, tweeting at about noon: “BRIDGE TO CANADA IN DETROIT IS CLOSED.”
The Canada Border Services Agency lists the Ambassador Bridge as temporarily closed, but Canadian police in Windsor have reportedly kept one lane of U.S.-bound traffic open. The bridge connects Detroit with Windsor, Ontario.
Windsor Police said commercial vehicles were being redirected to the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia, Ontario, about 65 miles north of Detroit. It is unclear when the Ambassador Bridge will fully reopen.
The Ambassador Bridge is a vital trade link between the U.S. and Canada. More than 10,000 trucks and $300 million to $500 million worth of goods cross the bridge daily.
Matt Moroun, chairman of the Detroit International Bridge Co., asked officials “to alleviate the situation as quickly as possible in a manner that reflects mutual respect.”
“The Ambassador Bridge and the Moroun family sympathize with truck drivers and those caught up in this blockade,” Moroun said in a public statement. “We recognize that truck drivers are essential workers … and the Canadian government has done a tremendous job with vaccine rates. The Ambassador Bridge has a solemn obligation to facilitate safe and efficient international trade and travel.”
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said northbound traffic from the U.S. was moving again slowly at the Coutts border crossing as of early Tuesday.
“Large commercial vehicles traveling south to the U.S. are being asked to use the Aden, Del Bonita and Carway border crossings to avoid any delays,” Alberta RCMP tweeted around noon Tuesday.
Credit Freightwaves by Noi Mahoney