Ministers Runciman and Hudak visit Blue Water Bridge - a key economic and tourism gateway

Archived Release

Ministers Runciman and Hudak visit Blue Water Bridge - a key economic and tourism gateway

SARNIA/POINT EDWARD, ON, Aug. 21 /CNW/ - Minister of Economic Development and Trade Bob Runciman and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation Tim Hudak will meet with officials of the Blue Water Bridge Authority in Sarnia today to study the Authority's plans for a gateway tourism information centre and improved traffic flow.
"The Sarnia/Point Edward border crossing is taking on significantly more commercial traffic with recent improvements to the Blue Water Bridge," said Runciman. "It's crucial that trade be allowed to move freely and quickly across the border to ensure a prosperous economy and new jobs for Ontarians."
The Blue Water Bridge is the second-busiest border crossing in Ontario for commercial trucks, particularly since improvements to the bridge were completed in the late-1990s. It handled 1.5 million truck crossings in 1999, five times the amount in 1984. The bridge is an essential economic link between Ontario and Michigan, as well as a wider economic corridor through the United States and south to Mexico.
"Sarnia/Point Edward is an important border crossing into Ontario and we must be able to meet the increase in demand," added Hudak. "We are developing an international gateway strategy that will provide our visitors with 24- hours/seven-day-a-week information on all there is to see and do in Ontario."
As well, the Government of Ontario is completing a preliminary design study to improve the connection from Highway 402 to the bridge plaza. In May, Transportation Minister Brad Clark announced that MTO is also a lead participant in the Ontario-Michigan Border Transportation Partnership, which is undertaking a study on ways the Windsor-Detroit gateway can handle more vehicles. This study includes the Sarnia/Point Edward/Port Huron area.
"Careful planning has helped the Blue Water Bridge emerge as one of the most important crossings into the U.S.," said Dan Elash, General Manager of the Blue Water Bridge Authority in Sarnia/Point Edward, and Director of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association in Washington, D.C. "There has been a 350 per cent rise in trade between Canada and the U.S. between 1972 and 1998 and Authority members are proud of their contributions in managing this healthy increase."

/Note to Assignment Editors: Photo-op: Ministers Runciman and Hudak -
Aug. 21, 11:30 a.m. on the plaza in front of the Blue Water Bridge
Authority Administration Building on the Canadian side of the border/
For further information: Hal Vincent, Minister's Office, (416) 325-8779; Eric Shapiro, Communications Branch, (416) 325-6698