The Ministry of Transportation and the Ontario Trucking Association are warning motorists and truckers to be aware of traffic congestion and delays at border crossings during World Youth Day celebrations, which ends with a visit to Toronto from Pope John Paul.
The OTA advises carriers to reschedule or reroute shipments, if possible, to avoid lineups at the borders on Sunday, July 28, the last day of the rally. Or, to prepare drivers for considerably longer wait times at the border.
The papal visit is expected to bring an additional half million people to Toronto during the 10-day event (July 18-28). Officials estimate the largest crowds will gather during the last five days. Carriers and owner-operators should also note that a significant number of bus operators are planning to tour the scenic Niagara Falls area prior to taking their passengers across the border. Traffic may be slowed on these routes.
A statement released by the OTA says border crossings in Windsor and Niagara can expect a high volume of crossings. Road users in Toronto and the surrounding area may experience somewhat heavier than usual traffic conditions at various times as the faithful pour into the area, but the greatest challenge for the trucking industry is expected to be border crossings on the event's final day.
Reportedly, border crossing authorities have indicated they plan to add more lanes to clear commercial traffic and add more staff. They say, in the post-September 11 world, security would not be relaxed. Closer to the actual event, members are advised to monitor border crossing web sites and the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency web site at www.ccra-adrc.gc.ca for crossing information. You can also watch for transportation updates on the World Youth Day web site at www.wyd2002.org.