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Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge changing tolling system in coming months

Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge at night with lights glowing in the dark
Michigan Department of Transportation

Drivers who use the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge will see changes to the tolling system in the coming months.

The biggest change will be for people who cross the U.S.-Canada border on a regular basis.

Currently, drivers who use the automated system must have a physical card with them and flash it at the toll booth to get across the bridge which can be a little tricky in the winter months and for semi-truck drivers.

Soon, a new automated system will allow drivers to go right through without having to flash their cards.

Peter Petainen is the director of the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge. He says these drivers will only need a tag on their windshield.

"You just pull into the booth with, if you have a tag on your windshield, the gate will come up," he said. "It'll deduct from your account and off you drive."

The changes to the tolling system are coming as traffic across the bridge is rising to pre-pandemic levels.

Petainen says bridge crossings are at 66% of what they were before the pandemic when 1.3 million vehicles crossed in 2019.

"We're starting to see our commuters and our new tag users coming back, which is a really good thing. Traffic is picking up fairly steadily since October 1st of last year."

The toll changes take effect March 31st.

They’re part of an initiative to modernize the US-Canada crossing in Michigan, including the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron.

Rick joined WCMU as a general assignment reporter in March 2022.
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