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Diverted truckers backed up at Peace Bridge; WNY 'convoy' protest planned

For two nights, additional traffic has led to backups, although other border crossings have faired better. State police are preparing for potential disruptions.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Truckers attempting to cross the border into Canada are being diverted to Western New York because of an ongoing protest deemed the 'convoy' at the Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

For two straight nights, the additional truck traffic has led to backups at the Peace Bridge. Western New York's other border crossings however have faired much better.

Trucks were backed up to the Church Street on-ramp along the 190 Northbound in Buffalo on Thursday. They were also being diverted and looped along Busti Avenue, back through Customs via the Porter Avenue roundabout.

2 On Your Side spoke to several drivers who at times were waiting for one to two hours to cross.

"We usually take Windsor so they are closed right now. That's why we came here," one trucker said. He diverted through Ohio rather than risk getting stuck in the Michigan backup.

Some truck drivers have been heading further north to the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge.

According to the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, which manages the Lewiston-Queenston bridge as well as the Rainbow and Whirlpool Rapids bridges, truck traffic at the Lewiston-Queenston has been up around 30 percent. It is the only bridge within the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission that handles commercial truck traffic.

"Really going both ways, Canadian-bound and U.S.-bound, our truck traffic has picked up," Commission CEO Ken Bieger said.

Bieger added that the additional truck traffic has not resulted in any backups. The Lewiston-Queenston's usual 1,200 trucks a day has been more like 1,600 lately.

"We probably anticipate it to continue the next couple of days," Bieger said.

When asked about potential 'convoy' protests at other border crossings besides Detriot Bieger said, "We haven't heard anything directly that protests are coming to the Lewiston-Queenston bridge, but we are monitoring."

New York State Police said in a statement Thursday that it is aware of a protest planned at the Peace Bridge on Saturday.

"We have been in touch with our federal and local partners, will monitor the situation, and are prepared to deploy whatever resources are necessary to ensure public safety.”

2 On Your Side asked eight truckers along Busti Avenue on Thursday night about the COVID-related 'convoy' protest. Thomas, whose last name was not provided, said he supports the group's cause and didn't mind the inconvenience.

Thomas called out, "Yeah, go truckers! Go convoy! Yes!" as the interview was finishing up. Five of his colleagues expressed some amount of annoyance, and one Canadian truck who called to himself Andrew said ...

"I agree with what they're fighting for. I just think they're going about it the wrong way, because now you're infringing on other people's freedoms, that's against the law," Andrew said.

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