Short-cut at bridge eyed for big trucks

At the request of local trucking companies, town council may decide to allow large commercial vehicles to access the international bridge from Church Street instead of being forced to go to the end of the line on those summer days when there are long line-ups.
Coun. Struchan Gilson, who was not at Monday night’s meeting, submitted a report to council based on discussions he’s had with several truckers regarding the issue.
He noted their argument was that once on the bridge, trucks have their own lane and therefore have little impact on the returning U.S. traffic.
“Surely the town can facilitate this matter without having to run it through all kinds of committees,” Coun. Gilson noted, adding some time ago a decision was made to put up traffic barriers and redirect U.S. traffic away from Church Street.
But now is the time for council to put up a sign and direct commercial trucks to enter the line at Church Street.
“If this needs some supervision to make it happen without the U.S. tourists jumping the line, surely we have the resources to supply the necessary manpower one day a week,” Coun. Gilson remarked.
“This matter has been a long-standing problem and it needs to be solved as soon as possible,” he added. “A lot of problems at the bridge are beyond our control.
This is one we can control—so let’s do it.”
“I think we should look at it further,” said Coun. Roy Avis.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt we should do something bout it,” echoed Mayor Dan Onichuk. “But at the end o the day, somebody has to be there to direct traffic.
“How is that done?”
Coun. Rick Wiedenhoeft noted perhaps signage directing people to allow large commercial vehicles through would be enough while Coun. Avis mentioned that maybe Public Works could spare a summer student to work on weekends.
“This decision is better vetted out through committee than here tonight,” advised Fort Frances CAO Mark McCaig, adding he realized a decision should be made sooner than later given the seasonal nature of the issue.
Council agreed to refer the matter to the Police Services Board and Planning and Development executive committee, with the aim to have a recommendation in time for the next council meeting June 27.

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