Hazmat, oversized trucks must now have escort on Sault Ste. Marie bridge

| 4/16/2004

The Joint International Bridge Authority has introduced an escort policy for all vehicles carrying hazardous materials that display placards and any vehicles wider than 12 feet or weighing more than 140,000 pounds.

However, the new policy includes a provision that would allow hazmat truck drivers who frequently cross the bridge to move escort-free, the authority said in a statement. However, those drivers will have to apply for a permit and receive training to move without the escort.

The authority operates the International Bridge between Canada and the United States at Sault Ste. Marie, MI, a busy international crossing on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula along the waterway that connects Lake Superior with Lake Huron.

Overwidth loads are included because the bridge is only two lanes wide; its operators want to ensure that two overwidth loads – or overweight trucks – do not meet in the middle of the span.

Drivers whose rigs carry hazardous materials or whose rigs are overwidth must contact bridge authorities in advance if they need an escort. Escorts will move at a top speed of 20 mph, the bridge authority said.

The fee for escort is $75 U.S. or $100 Canadian. The fee does not include regular toll charges, which must also be paid.

The Joint International Bridge Authority originally passed a limited escort policy in November 2003. The new policy became effective April 1, 2004.

To contact bridge authorities about an escort, call (906) 635-5255; for information about permits to move escort-free, call (517) 373-2120.