Rainbow Bridge Expected to Reopen in Day or Two

A vehicle burns at the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, New York, Wednesday. (Saleman Alwishah via Reuters/Screenshot)

(Bloomberg News/TNS) — The Canadian mayor of Niagara Falls, Jim Diodati, said the Rainbow Bridge is expected to reopen in a day or two, after a car explosion that killed two people shuttered the busy crossing between Niagara Falls, N.Y. and Niagara Falls, Ontario.

“The damage as we understand it is superficial as far as the bridge is concerned,” Diodati said Thursday in an interview, adding that U.S. authorities will make the decision on when to reopen the bridge. One of the booths on the bridge is damaged, but there are other booths available for travelers to drive through, he said, citing discussions with police officials.

A video of the incident, which took place at about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, showed the car was moving at a high rate of speed, crashed into the median, cleared an 8-foot fence and exploded, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said at a Wednesday news briefing. She added that there was no sign of terrorism.

About 1.5 million passenger vehicles crossed the Rainbow Bridge in the first 10 months of this year, according to data from the Bridge & Tunnel Operators Association. The busiest bridge in the region is Peace Bridge, which connects Buffalo with Fort Erie, Ontario, and which saw 2.9 million vehicles in the same period.

Billions of dollars in daily trade cross these U.S.-Canada bridges, Diodati said, but he doesn’t expect the financial impact will be significant since they weren’t closed for long and any backlog will be quickly resolved.

The Peace Bridge and two other nearby bridges, the Lewiston-Queenston and the Whirlpool Bridge, reopened Wednesday after a temporary closing earlier in the day.

“It was a health issue and that’s what led to the car going at such an accelerated rate,” Diodati said. He added that officials details of what happened will be confirmed by an autopsy. However, he believes the couple in the car were in their 60s and they were small business owners in the community who had just departed from a casino on the U.S. side of Niagara Falls and were on their way to a concert in Canada.

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