Morawetz said the order would go into effect at 7 p.m. Friday.
“This gives individuals the opportunity and time to clear the area,” he said in the original decision.
The span that connects Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, has been largely closed by Canadian “Freedom Convoy” truckers since Monday in protest of a US-Canada mandate that requires truckers to enter both countries counter need to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
By Friday, calls for Canada to end the impasse were mounting among state and federal officials, while the province of Ontario declared a state of emergency as its prime minister promised new legal action against protesters, including fines and jail terms.
East Lansing-based consultant Anderson Economic Group estimates the bridge jam will cost Michigan $51 million in lost direct wages in the first week alone, a number it said would “rise at an accelerating pace.” the longer the standoff lasted.
“With the industry already understaffed and production lines awaiting parts, any further disruption is very costly,” said Patrick Anderson, CEO of Anderson Economic Group.
General Motors closed several shifts at its vehicle manufacturing plant near Lansing this week due to parts shortages related to the closure of the span, which normally moves 8,000 trucks and more than $323 million worth of goods a day. Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. suspended some operations in Canada due to the closure, while Honda planned to end assembly line production at its Alliston, Ontario plant.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the bridge is the busiest international land border crossing in North America and accounts for nearly a third of annual two-way trade between Canada and the United States, which is estimated at more than $600 billion.
In response to the potential economic crisis, officials on both sides of the border are stepping up pressure to end the impasse. The blockade at the Ambassador Bridge also caused massive traffic congestion at Port Huron’s Blue Water Bridge earlier in the week as truckers sought other routes into Canada.
Canadian protesters have also closed border crossings in Coutts, Alberta, across from Montana and in Emerson, Manitoba, across from North Dakota.
On Friday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she is urging US and Canadian officials to find a way to open the Ambassador Bridge.
“I obviously destroyed the phone line talking to people in the White House with the Canadian ambassador in our congressional delegation and some Canadian government leaders,” Whitmer said.