Bridge agencies celebrate system upgrades

Representatives from the Sault St. Marie International Bridge, Michigan Department of Transportation, Blue Water Bridge, and The Federal Bridge Corporation Limited at a ribbon cutting in Point Edward, Ontario. September 28, 2022. (Photo courtesy of FBCL)

Upgrades to the tolling system at two international bridges between Ontario and Michigan are being touted by agencies.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the Blue Water Bridge on Wednesday, shortly after system upgrades began.

The toll system was activated for both the U.S. and Canadian sides of the Blue Water Bridge and the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge.

Upgrades were made under a $9.3 million contract and costs are being shared equally by the International Bridge Administration (IBA), Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and The Federal Bridge Corporation Limited (FBCL).

“By working together, the bridges have saved an estimated 36 percent on upfront costs,” read a media release. “Over the course of the next decade, projected savings could be on the order of $6.5 million to $7 million.”

Staff from the Blue Water Bridge on the U.S. side. September 28, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Michigan Department of Transportation)

The upgrades are said to improve customer service and provide administrative cost savings.

”The transition has gone smoothly and, going forward, this new system will help us realize many efficiencies by sharing a common platform between our partner bridges,” said FBCL CEO Natalie Kinloch in a statement. “This translates to great value for the citizens of Canada and the state of Michigan while providing a better experience for bridge users.”

The goal is to eventually discontinue the current card-based systems and transition to radio frequency identification (RFID) windshield tags. More information about ConneXion, a frequent traveler program, can be found by clicking here.