(BUFFALO, NY) – The Bridge and Tunnel Operators Association has released the border crossing numbers for 2017 at the international points of entry between Ontario and Michigan and New York. When compared to 2016, overall car crossings increased by 0.86 per cent while truck crossings declined by 0.42 per cent.
Combined, there were 33.8 million car, truck, and bus crossings, an overall increase of 158,500 vehicles or 0.47 per cent.
At the Ambassador Bridge, car traffic increased 2.96 per cent largely on the losses suffered at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel of –2.88 per cent. The Detroit-Windsor Tunnel was completely closed for 10 days in late October and closed Sunday through Thursday evenings, between 8pm to 5:30am, from October 30 to December 31.
Truck traffic was up at the Ambassador Bridge in 2017 by a total of 676 vehicles, or 0.03 per cent.
Car and truck traffic at the Bluewater Bridge at Sarnia-Port Huron was down almost 1 per cent, offset slightly by an uptick of 343 busses.
Overall cross border traffic at all Ontario ports in 2017 was 35.4 per cent lower than in the benchmark year of 2000, when 52,367,401 vehicles traversed the border. Crossings continue to flounder since the economic downturn in 2008 with no appreciable return to 2000 numbers.
The Ambassador Bridge is no longer the busiest border crossing in North America as truck traffic continues to run 26.92 per cent behind 2000 and car crossings are off 50.45 per cent. The figures mimic the drop in cross-border trade after it shifted to Mexico from Canada.
Though truck traffic at the Ambassador Bridge continues to lag behind, delays entering the United States are attributable to computer system outages at US Customs as well as the restricted number of booths manned by customs agents.
Tunnel car travelers have also missed the pace, crossing beneath the Detroit River just 4.2 million times compared to 8.2 per cent in 2000. Trucks have avoided crossing at the tunnel to the tune of 78.44 per cent over the same time.