WUOMFM

Blue Water Bridge

Blue Water Bridge
K.l.macke/Flickr

Canadian workers for the Blue Water Bridge went on strike this week.

The 45 employees, who all work on the Canadian side of the bridge, are picketing due to contract disputes.

Jocelyn Hall, a media contact with the Michigan Department of Transportation, said the strike could make holiday travel difficult.

“As a contingency plan, a staff of non-unionized employees are filling in those roles and that capacity to keep traffic flowing,” Hall said.

Hall says if there is any traffic backup, it would more than likely be on the Canadian side of the bridge.

Ivan Lisenkov / Wikimedia Commons

Beginning in April, work on the Blue Water Bridge will temporarily cut the number of lanes on the international crossing in half.

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) - A $145 million expansion of the Blue Water Bridge customs plaza in Port Huron has been halted due to a lack of federal funding.

The Times-Herald reports that Port Huron city leaders have been told the federal government isn't interested in continuing the project.

The update was given Friday by federal and state officials. U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Dennis Counihan says the project is not part of the agency's current five-year plan.

Jojeann Riley

The U.S. Coast Guard says a freighter carrying iron ore pellets has run aground on the Canadian side of southern Lake Huron, about one mile offshore of Sarnia, Ontario. The agency there's no reports of injuries or pollution after the shipped named Buffalo ran aground late Wednesday while en route to Cleveland.

The U.S. Coast Guard is assisting Thursday in the response and sent a 41-foot boat to the scene. Sarnia is located across the St. Clair River from Port Huron, Michigan, about 55 miles northeast of Detroit.

Blue Water Bridge
K.l.macke/Flickr

The Blue Water Bridge has been reopened. The bridge, which links Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario, was shut down Monday and Tuesday to commercial traffic as crews worked to clear snow from the week's severe winter storm.

As The Associated Press reports, the bridge's closing:

...forced several General Motors Co. plants in Michigan to interrupt production and caused long delays at the Ambassador Bridge crossing between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

The blast of artic air that has enveloped the Great Lakes is causing major problems for truck traffic between Michigan and Ontario. Canadian officials have been forced to close Highway 402 which connects with the Blue Water bridge. Here are two reports on the situation in Ontario and in Port Huron:

Digital Journal reports:

A "red alert" issued by Emergency Management Ontario for the stretch of Hwy. 402 between London and Sarnia has been canceled but a state of emergency remains in force.

 680 News is reporting that three Canadian Forces military helicopters are now taking part in the rescue effort as hundreds remain stranded between the two cities.

 The radio station quotes OPP Const. Chrystal Jones: 

"Some of our OPP four-wheel drive vehicles were experiencing difficulties in the snow because again, the plows have not been out. And of course, vehicles have been abandoned in the middle of roadways, so they've become impassable."