5

Is it possible to do a u-turn after entering the Ambassador Bridge from the US to avoid leaving the US?

I am reading conflicting reports.

https://k1025.com/this-guy-took-the-bridge-to-canada-exit-in-detroit-by-accident-and-got-deported/ (mirror):

So if you use Exit 47B on Interstate 75 know that you're going to Canada without any opportunity to U-Turn.

http://ioverlander.com/places/9635-windsor-ontario-canada-to-detroit-michigan-usa (mirror):

If you try a U-turn past US Customs on the bridge you will have some explaining to do but it can be done if you do not want to go across.

6
  • 1
    Have you checked Google Maps? I can see what looks to be lots of tyre marks from u-turns, and there don't appear to be any barriers either. But I may not be looking in the right place – Midavalo Dec 31 '20 at 11:21
  • 1
    @Midavalo the marks I see are across "flexible delineator posts," which suggests that those U-turns are not allowed. So the question is whether "possible" in the question means "possible without violating traffic (or other) laws" or "physically possible." – phoog Dec 31 '20 at 14:58
  • 1
    Interesting article here. Bridge worker will help you turn around but you have to be cleared through the customs people at the duty-free plaza first. – mkennedy Dec 31 '20 at 20:45
  • 1
    At Blaine (Washington/BC border) you can definitely do this. – JonathanReez Jan 1 at 1:54
  • 2
    Not sure about the Ambassador bridge but I have travelled a lot to the US on the Lewiston. On the Canadian side, there are warnings in place on big boards specifically asking that you enter the bridge only to cross all the way over to the US. There’s no U turn allowed. – Bhushan Kale Jan 2 at 16:39
10

Yes, making a U-turn without entering Canada is possible. That being said, it is not easy to do; here is what you would go through if your experience is like mine.

Upon arriving to the Customs, you have to ask them to do a U-turn, then they summon a person who is authorized to allow you to make one. Then, you have to fill out a form that says, among other things, that you have not purchased from the Duty-Free store. After this, you can be approved for a U-turn. You are directed to a gate to wait at; and after your form gets processed, a bridge worker comes out, opens the gate for you, and tells you which path to take in order to complete your U-turn. If you accidentally take a wrong turn, you end up at some restricted location (I just turned around without looking what exactly it was). Not a very short procedure, but if you really must, you can.

5
  • The original question asked about U-turns when driving a car — see the "Driving" tag. This Answer does not respond to the question, but instead addresses walking. Downvoted. – DavidSupportsMonica Feb 18 at 19:25
  • 6
    Hi David. I am surprised to hear that you are not allowed simply to turn around if you’re walking on the bridge. However, my answer did address driving. Sorry if I was not entirely clear about this. – Alex Feb 18 at 20:33
  • Alex, the word "path" is usually used to describe a route taken by a pedestrian or hiker, not a vehicle. I have reversed my downvote. – DavidSupportsMonica Feb 18 at 21:20
  • 2
    What’s the right word? “Route” seems too long when it’s 2-3 turns, at certain landmarks (hence I missed them, since they’re without street labels.) – Alex Feb 19 at 15:55
  • 2
    @BenBolker just deleted his answer, I think the "NO RE-ENTRY TO USA" photos in that answer clarify that trying to do this on purpose is strongly discouraged to the point that you have to ignore very clear signs. Combined with the knowledge from this answer and mkennedy's link about needing to deal with customs for permission and wait to be escorted back, it seems clear that this isn't really something you want to attempt to do on purpose. – Zach Lipton Feb 22 at 4:05
5

While @Alex's answer confirms that it is possible, evidence from Street View suggests it might not be a good idea - doing this (especially for sightseeing purposes) is clearly bending the rules and could conceivably get you yelled at if the border guards are having a bad day.

Here are the three approaches to the bridge from the US side:

  • Street View of exit (47B from I-75) clearly showing a sign saying "Bridge to Canada: NO RE-ENTRY TO USA" ...

picture of exit showing "no re-entry to USA"

picture of exit showing "no re-entry to USA"

  • Southbound on I-75, it looks like you're going to be able to do it (no "no re-entry" sign!) (This is nearly the same location as the I-96/192B picture, but with a wider shot ...) This is the exit that the original post above references:

Coming in on I-75 from the North [i.e., southbound] you need to follow direction signs at Exit 47 C ,peel off on the right and follow the lanes into the customs compound merged with traffic from the south.

enter image description here

... but if you follow this exit you get to this fork:

enter image description here

where the right fork is "no re-entry" and the left fork (47C) appears to take you back on to I-75 going the other way ... maybe the rules were looser in 2014 when the original post was written ... ? The border guards might indeed let you make a U-turn to get back into the US (they're not bound by what the highway signs say), but it would be inadvisable to try it unless you have a backup plan. (For the record, this article referenced in comments points out that (as of 2014) there was a bridge employee whose job was to facilitate the return of people who were stuck in the restricted area (e.g. unable to enter Canada because of insufficient documentation or carrying restricted items) get back on the highway on the US side.

enter image description here

0

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.