Niagara Falls Bridge Commission offers tips on how to avoid peak traffic delays when crossing one of the three international bridges over the Niagara River
LEWISTON, NEW YORK – The Victoria and Memorial Day weekends mark the beginning of the summer travel season which means more travelers will be using the international bridges along the Niagara River. Motorists are encouraged to utilize the various user friendly travel tools offered by the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission (NFBC) and follow some basic travel planning steps before departing.
This year, prior to the beginning of the Victoria Day weekend, the NFBC and the Canada Border Service Agency (Customs) are opening two new Primary Inspection Lanes on the Queenston Plaza leading into Canada. These two new lanes will increase the bridge’s processing capacity by 33%. An additional two lanes will be added in early 2011 to further facilitate the efficient movement of traffic across the Lewiston-Queenston international bridge.
“We are continuing to make every effort to address traffic delays at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and the addition of the two new inspection lanes will certainly assist,” said Dr. Kenneth Loucks, chair, NFBC. “We are in the final stages of the revitalization of the Queenston Plaza and, once completed in December, the Canadian Border Service Agency will have new state-of-the-art facilities to further reduce wait times.”
To assist with travel plans, the NFBC provides information on traffic conditions at the Whirlpool, Lewiston-Queenston and Rainbow Bridges which may be easily accessed as follows:
- Niagarafallsbridges.com provides hourly updates on traffic conditions on the Lewiston-Queenston, Whirlpool and Rainbow Bridges, as well as real time photos of the traffic conditions on the Lewiston-Queenston and Rainbow Bridges.
- Travelers can call the NFBC’s toll-free number that provides hourly updates of traffic conditions on the three bridges. The number to call is 1-800-715-6722, press 2 for car traffic info.
- The NFBC offers traffic updates through Twitter. Followers of Twitter.com/NiagaraBridges are notified of changing traffic conditions. This free service is designed to inform travelers of delay times enabling them to select which NFBC bridge best fits their travel needs. Since there is a short driving distance between the Lewiston-Queenston and Rainbow bridges, travelers can choose the bridge that offers the least delay time.
There is a misconception that the NFBC’s bridges have long delays during the summer season. It is true that there are generally extended delays during peak travel times such as on long holiday weekends. However, delays can be minimized even on holiday weekends by scheduling travel plans to avoid peak usage of the bridges.
NEXUS card holders can avoid delays using the Whirlpool Bridge. Since the Whirlpool Bridge is only accessible to NEXUS card holders, travel times over the bridge average less than a minute. NEXUS travelers using the Whirlpool Bridge currently receive a 15% discount on tolls. For more information visit niagarafallsbridges.com and click on the NEXUS link on the upper right hand corner.
For travelers using US I-190, electronic overhead message signs provide updates on traffic conditions at the various bridges. Drivers can also tune into 1610 AM on their car radio, which gives traffic conditions at the bridges.
The U.S. and Canada have different laws concerning permitted items and exemption limits. For a complete list of what is allowed into each county, travelers should visit either www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca (Canada) or www.cbp.gov (U.S). Each site provides a comprehensive list of what is allowed in each country and what items need to be declared at the customs booth.
One of the following forms of identification is required when crossing the border: a passport, passport card, enhanced driving license, Trusted Traveler Cards (NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST), Enhanced Driver’s License, Enhanced Tribal Card, U.S. Military Identification with Military Travel Orders, U.S. Merchant Mariner Document when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business, Native American Tribal Photo Identification Card or a Form I-872 American Indian Card.
Using the available tools and taking advantage of the benefits of the NEXUS program will provide benefits to all travelers.
About the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission
A Joint Resolution of the 1938 U.S. Congressional Third Session created the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission. The Extra Provincial Corporations Act of the Province of Ontario, Canada licenses the NFBC. Canada and the U.S. are equally represented on the NFBC by an eight-member Board of Commissioners. Initially established to finance, construct and operate the Rainbow Bridge, the Commission proved sufficiently efficient and effective to assume responsibilities for the Whirlpool Rapids (Lower) and Lewiston-Queenston Bridges. The NFBC builds and maintains all facilities for Customs and Immigration functions on both sides of the international border. The NFBC is self supportive, largely through user fees (tolls) and private-sector tenant leases. NFBC is federally chartered to conduct international commercial financial transactions and issue federal (U.S.) tax-exempt bonds.