Traffic numbers plunge at north country bridges linked to Canada

Traffic numbers plunge at north country bridges linked to Canada
Thousand Islands International Bridge during the summer (Source: WWNY)

OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - Traffic on north country bridges linked to Canada is down dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge

Since the weekend, Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge has seen a 90 percent drop in auto traffic and a 20 to 25 percent decline in truck traffic.

That's according to Steve Lawrence, Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority interim executive director.

He said passenger traffic was up Friday and Saturday as Canadians rushed to return home.

Lawrence said the loss of toll revenue is "devastating" to the authority's bottom line.

The OBPA has called a special meeting for Friday to approve a deferment agreement for payments to a key authority lender. That should give the authority some breathing room for now as it faces plummeting revenues.

Meanwhile, Lawrence said some tenants in the authority’s Commerce Park have asked for relief on rent payments.

Hundreds of people work in the park, but some firms are subject to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s shut-down orders. Others, such as manufacturers, may see slumps in demand as customers cut orders.

In other OBPA-related news, the authority operates the Ogdensburg International Airport. It says both Allegiant and United continue to fly in and out of the airport. Allegiant planes arriving from Florida still have a good number of passengers, but those returning to Florida usually have just light passenger loads. There have also been some sporadic flight cancellations.

Thousand Islands International Bridge

Meanwhile at the Thousand Islands International Bridge, passenger traffic is down 20 percent and commercial traffic is off 5 percent during the month of March.

Timothy Sturick of the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority said the bridge also saw an influx of Canadians driving home over the weekend, in part, so they will have access to their government-provided health care.

He said it was too early to tell what the effect will be on toll revenue for the authority.

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