The Peace Bridge between Buffalo and Fort Erie, Canada is undergoing a phase of construction expected to last six months. With traffic limited to one lane in each direction, delays aren’t expected as long as border agencies on both sides can maintain adequate staffing.
For the next six months, traffic on the peace bridge will be reduced to one lane in each direction while construction is underway. Peace Bridge Authority General Manager Ron Reinas said the months of November through May were selected for the work because they are outside the warm-weather travel season when the bridge sees peak volume. Over the next six months, volume on the bridge is rarely expected to reach each lane’s 1000 vehicle-per-hour during construction.
“We had an engineering analysis done that indicates that a two-lane bridge can function perfectly well during this period of time, assuming that U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Canada Border Services agencies have the appropriate number of customs booths open.”
According to Reinas, U.S. CPB already has a plan in place, authorizing added resources and overtime to keep a maximum number of inspection booths open when they’re needed.
“We do not have similar assurances, at this time, from Canada Border Services. They’ve indicated they will do their best, but we do not have a similar commitment of resources to ensure there are no delays,” said Reinas.
Aside from measures being taken by the PBA and border agencies, motorists have a part to play, too. Reinas said anything that helps speed up processing time at the customs booths will help traffic move quicker.
“For example, making sure that they have documentation out and available to hand to the customs officer; rolling down not only the driver’s window, but also the driver’s side passenger window of a car; getting Nexus as an expedited travel card can move things along.”
The current phase of construction is part of an overall 100-million dollar rehabilitation project. Slated for completion in spring 2019, the plan includes a new bridge decking, sidewalks, railings, lighting, and overhead gantries.
“It will be a totally rehabilitated bridge when this project is done,” said Reinas. “But people will begin to get a sense of what it will look like after this first lane is completed.”
There is no impact to pedestrians or cyclists crossing the bridge while construction is underway. Overall traffic is set to return to normal on May 15, 2017.
For further updates, visit peacebridge.com.