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I'm going to be driving through Michigan into Canada next week. My point of origin and destination are far enough to the West and East respectively that the net mileage difference between using the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, and the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit is insignificant (7 miles).

Similarly, the difference in tolls is insignificant. (Two dollars)

Which leaves me wondering whether there is any difference between the two in terms of traffic patterns or customs staffing, wherein one crossing would be faster than the other. All things being equal, I'd intuit that the Port Huron crossing is going to be faster, if only because it avoids crossing through Detroit commuter traffic, but I won't be traveling at rush hour, so I'm not particularly concerned with this factor, if there is some compelling reason to go the southern route.

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Anecdotal, so not an answer: I once made the same assumption about non-rush-hour Detroit-area traffic, and got caught in one traffic jam after another. If you're starting out north (/west) of Detroit, I'd suggest staying there and crossing at Port Huron. –  kdgregory Aug 30 '13 at 16:04
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up vote 8 down vote accepted

There is really very little difference between two crossings that take about 5 minutes to cross.

In all seriousness, this is really akin to asking, "Should I take 7 Mile Road or 8 Mile?" Fundamentally, you aren't going to remember either.

The Ambassador Bridge always struck me as the bigger, rougher cousin - the one that felt more like a war zone (which, of course, in downtown Detroit is relative) - but clearly the bigger of the two. Windsor is just a little place for casinos to cater to Americans who can't gamble in Detroit. As the bigger of the two crossings, the customs officials will be slightly more experienced, perhaps, but not enough to make a hill of beans difference.

In contrast, the Blue Water Bridge is a little more upscale, and a little less congested, but only somewhat so. Detroit generally gets nicer as you move North (Bloomfield Hills, Gross Point), but (and I say this as a person whose parents are from Detroit), it's still Detroit. (Okay, "Detroit-ish"). Additionally, the speed limits are a little higher in the US, and the Blue Water is closer to London so during rush hour, you might save a few minutes. On the other hand, once you're out of Windsor, you're just in farm country, so you may be able to pick up a little bit of time if there aren't any RCMP.

Really, the only question between the two, assuming the distances are equal, is "Do I prefer inner city Detroit or norther suburban Detroit?" And trust me, it ain't that big a deal.

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Didn't know if there was a difference in traffic/congestion between the two. Thanks! –  LessPop_MoreFizz Aug 30 '13 at 14:33
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