Threats delay hundreds of truckers at Canadian border crossings

Bomb threats made at two of the busiest Canada/U.S. border crossings in less than a week shut down the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, stranding hundreds of truckers attempting to cross the border and costing them substantial sums of money.

Monday, hundreds of trucks waited five hours for the Ambassador Bridge to reopen as investigators searched for an incendiary device after a bomb threat was called in from a pay phone, according to a CBC News report.

A 911 call came in around 7:20 p.m. EST Monday to authorities on the U.S. side of the Ambassador Bridge. The caller stated that a bomb would go off in 10 minutes along the busy freight crossing, Detroit police Inspector Don Johnson said during a news conference.

No device was found.

Just four days earlier the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel was shut down for nearly four hours also because of a bomb threat.

Stephen Laskowski, the vice president of the Ontario Trucking Assn., said it costs $75/hr. for a truck to sit idle, so the closures will financially impact hundreds of truckers. Twenty-five percent of trade between Canada and the U.S. crosses the bridge on a daily basis, according to Bill Anderson, the Ontario research chairman in cross-border policy.

“You just hope it’s not some sort of a pattern that repeats. One or two incidents won’t have a big economic impact,” Anderson said. “If it becomes a continuing problem, it will have a serious negative impact on the economy.”

Laskowski said a secondary effect of the threat was the fact truckers can only be at the wheel for a limited number of hours each day, and sitting in traffic — bomb threat or not — uses up their allowable driving hours.

“At the end of the day, the customer doesn’t care why it didn’t get there,” Laskowski said. “The customer just knows it didn’t get there.”

Spokesman Simon Shaykhet of the FBI office in Detroit, told the Detroit Free Press the agency is “employing the latest investigative techniques as we pursue this investigation. We plan to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.”

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