Severe winter conditions shut down Ontario’s Highway 402, forcing the closure of the Blue Water Bridge to trucks at Port Huron, Mich. – Sarnia, Ont. (Photo by Jim Park)Truckinginfo Staff
As of 3:00 AM EST Wednesday morning, the Blue Water Bridge at the Pt. Huron, Mich.-Sarnia, Ont. international border crossing remains closed to truck traffic.
Ontario’s Hwy. 402 leading eastbound from the bridge toward London and Toronto remains impassable and closed due to winter storm conditions. The Blue Water Bridge itself is passable and remains open to cars and light vehicle that are heading directly into the Sarnia area.
Trucks are lined up on I-94 and I-69 for leading to Pt. Huron and the Blue Water Bridge, but will not be allowed to cross the bridge until Hwy. 402 reopens. Ontario officials say that could be sometime Wednesday, if crews can get ahead of another approaching storm.
Officials at the Ambassador Bridge at Detroit-Windsor said they were working with U.S. and Canadian government agencies to open all available customs inspection lanes, to ease the backlog of trucks diverting from the Blue Water Bridge.
Dan Stamper, president of the Detroit International Bridge Co., owner and operator of the Ambassador Bridge, said all available U.S. customs booths have been open and are operating.
During the storm emergency, the Ambassador Bridge is allowing HAZMAT trucks and trucks with hazardous cargo normally banned from the bridge to cross.
More Snow Headed for Southwestern Ontario
The snow and high winds that stranded hundreds of motorists on Hwy. 402 east of Sarnia, is apparently heading toward London, which is about midway between Detroit and Toronto. The area could get up to 20 inches of snow Tuesday night, on top of the nearly 48 inches that fell over the weekend.
Highway conditions in the area are expected to deteriorate overnight.
Earlier Tuesday, 237 stranded motorists rescued from their snowbound vehicles on Highway 402 and taken to warming stations by 5 p.m., according to the Ontario Provincial Police. Many were airlifted by military helicopters while the rest were taken to safety in buses that followed a snowplow.
The rescue effort focused on a 25-mile stretch of Highway 402 from Warwick west to Sarnia. Even with the vehicle occupants safe and sound in shelters, it could be sometime before snowbound vehicle are cleared from the highway. They are stranded and scattered all over the road. The snowplows are having a very difficult time getting through.
Meanwhile, truckers came to the aid of many stranded motorists last night on the snowbound highway, opening up their cabs and sleepers to other motorists.
David Virgin, a driver of 40 years with D J Transportation, was stranded on County Road 22 near Hwy. 402 in Lambton County since 11 a.m. on Monday, along with approximately 100 trucks and other motor vehicles. He was quick to open his doors to a couple and their baby who were stranded behind him, to provide a warm, safe place to spend the night.
“I noticed a couple, along with their baby, behind me stranded in a car. I have a nice warm cab, so I invited them in to spend the night,” explained Virgin.
Bill Justice, a driver with Trailwood, offered his heated bunk to a fellow driver to stay warm while the storm raged on. Likewise, Dan Moreland, a driver with Elgin Motor Freight, spend thirty hours stranded and invited a car motorist to spend the night in the warmth of his cab. Justice noted trucks along the highway were quick to do the same as a community of stranded motorists came together to help each other through the difficult night.
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