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Bridges ready for Easter/Passover weekend

by jmaloni
Fri, Apr 6th 2012 02:00 pm

Easter and Passover weekend holiday passage over the Niagara River on the three bridges the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission operates is expected to be heavy, but similar to 2011.

The number of open Canadian and American inspection lanes should be the same this year as in 2011.

Because the two religious holidays often arrive on different dates - Easter weekend was April 22-25, 2011; April 2-5, 2010; and April 10-13, 2009 - comparisons cannot be exact. But total 24-hour, four-day weekend volume for cars the previous three years was the following:

•Lewiston, U.S. bound, 2011, 20,016; 2010, 20,242; 2009, 20,473.

•Lewiston, Canada bound, 2011, 23,712; 2010, 18,191; 2009, 18,403.

•Rainbow, U.S. bound, 2011, 25,757; 2010, 19,391; 2009, 19,606.

•Rainbow, Canada bound, 2011, 20,771; 2010, 19,519; 2009, 19,756.

Peak times for crossing tended to be mid-afternoon to evening, with no waits several mornings before 10 a.m.

The NEXUS-only Whirlpool Rapids Bridge rarely has any delays.

"The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission again urges travelers using its three bridges to choose off-peak hours to cross, have appropriate documents ready, take advantage of NEXUS use and if they have purchases or other materials to declare to have them out for inspection," said Lew Holloway, commission general manager.

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, a U.S. law, requires all travelers to the U.S. to present a valid passport or another approved secure document at the border. Acceptable forms of identification for both U.S. entry and re-entry into Canada that also meet the requirements of the WHTI include a passport, a NEXUS card, a Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card and an enhanced driver's license.

"The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission works closely with Customs on both sides of the border to speed the flow of travelers as much as it can," Holloway said. "We must all keep in mind duty, tax and security considerations and be patient when crossing. People should know that we're doing all we can to make our bridge operations as efficient and effective as possible."

"It helps everyone if travelers plan to cross at off-peak hours," he added.

Travelers Tips:

•Call the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission's toll free number at 1-800-715-6722 or call 511 for the latest traffic updates.

•Tune to radio to 1610 AM.

•Visit any of the following websites: www.cbp.gov, www.cbsa.gc.ca, www.nittec.org, www.peacebridge.com, http://niagarafallsbridges.com/traffic_conditions.php3.  

•Note the NITTEC highway dynamic message signs with posted delays beyond 30 minutes.

•Register at www.mynittec.org to receive a free personalized email or text notification of border and regional traffic information.

•Access Twitter at www.twitter.com/CBSA_BWT.   

•Have a passenger use a cell phone to access travel information at www.wap.gc.ca or www.gc.ca.

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