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Crossing into Canada via Ambassador Bridge

Saginaw, Michigan
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for Western Ireland
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Crossing into Canada via Ambassador Bridge

On previous visits to Pt Pelee at this time of year, we have crossed into Canada at Port Huron/Sarnia. This year we have decided to travel on I-75 (from Saginaw) and cross the Ambassador Bridge. Is it fairly straightforward for someone who is not familiar with driving in Detroit? Are there particular times to avoid? We expect to be there between 5.30PM and 6.30pm tomorrow (Wed 12 May, 2010).

Thanks for any help and responses.

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Ambassador Bridge
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1. Re: Crossing into Canada via Ambassador Bridge

Just follow the signs. Access is right off the freeway. Just make sure you stay on I-75 when I-375 splits off, otherwise you end up downtown. Looks like you want exit 47B for the bridge.

That time is going to be sending you through Detroit at rush hour which may not be fun. I would recommend earlier if possible - try to hit the bridge by 4:00 or so. There are many Canadians that work in the US that could be heading home at that time.

You might also want to monitor the bridge vs. tunnel times. WJR (AM 760) should report on them in their traffic reports "every 10 minutes on the 8's". For the tunnel you would take I-75 to I-375 to Jefferson West, take a Michigan left just past the Ren Cen and turn right into the tunnel. Again - follow the signs.

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Saginaw, Michigan
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2. Re: Crossing into Canada via Ambassador Bridge

Thank you for your prompt and helpful reply. In the event that we can't be at the bridge at 4pm, would it be smarter to wait till, say, 7PM to cross. And, am I correct in understanding that the tunnel is generally less likely to be busy than the bridge?

Thanks again.

Detroit, MI
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3. Re: Crossing into Canada via Ambassador Bridge

I don't know that you can really predict one vs. the other. I don't cross enough to have first hand knowledge multiple times per week. Sometimes it takes five minutes, sometimes an hour. The tunnel is right next to the Ren Cen, so all the GM employees leaving at 5:00 might add to traffic on Jefferson.

It would probably be easier around 7pm, but still can't really say by how much. Detroit rush hours are also not what they used to be with unemployment so high. I wouldn't worry too much either way if it is a hassle to avoid that time of day.

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Saginaw, Michigan
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for Western Ireland
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4. Re: Crossing into Canada via Ambassador Bridge

After we return on Sunday, I'll report back on our crossing times for both directions.

I found this web site that monitors delays etc re various border crossings throughout the US. I intend keeping an eye on it this evening to see how things go:

http://apps.cbp.gov/bwt/

Your help is very much appreciated.

Dearborn, Michigan
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5. Re: Crossing into Canada via Ambassador Bridge

I cross over the border fairly often (e.g., 3 times in the past 2 weeks) and it always is unpredictable. Generally, it tends to take longer coming back into the US. Last week-end, it was 5 minutes going into Canada on the Ambassador Bridge and 50 minutes 3 hours later coming back to the US via the tunnel. Go figure!

One point to bear in mind re bridge vs. tunnel is that the bridge is the shorter and more direct route to the 401, the highway you probably will be using at least part of the way to Point Pelee. The tunnel dumps you right into downtown Windsor. If the website is showing a major time difference and saying that the tunnel is faster--which often happens to be the case-- turn left out of the tunnel and left again a half-block later at Oulette and continue on a few miles to the E.C. Row Expressway, then take that to the 401 East. Oulette ends and connects to Dougall a little before E.C. Row. It isn't a difficult or confusing drive.

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Detroit, MI
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6. Re: Crossing into Canada via Ambassador Bridge

One word of warning about the tunnel, at least for me. It completely messes up my sense of direction. Something about the spiral down to the bottom of the river, spiral back up, and then finding the United States north of Canada throws me off.

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7. Re: Crossing into Canada via Ambassador Bridge

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