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Updated: Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:25:46 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Border wait times tool launched for Easter weekend



The Canada Border Services Agency introduced a new tool on its web site intended to help travellers, who are either visiting Canada or who are returning home from the U.S., plan their drive through any one of Canada's 26 busiest borders before leaving for the long weekend. Jason Kryk/The Canadian Press

The Canada Border Services Agency introduced a new tool on its web site intended to help travellers, who are either visiting Canada or who are returning home from the U.S., plan their drive through any one of Canada's 26 busiest borders before leaving for the long weekend. Jason Kryk/The Canadian Press

The Canada Border Services Agency introduced a new tool on its web site Thursday to help travellers minimize their wait time at the Canada-U.S. border this long Easter weekend.

"As the warmer weather approaches, so do higher traveller volumes at Canada's borders. This Easter weekend is no exception, and the CBSA is introducing a new feature on its website to help travellers prepare for potentially longer border wait times this holiday weekend," the agency said Thursday.

The Forecasted Border Wait Times tool is intended to help travellers, who are either visiting Canada or who are returning home from the U.S., plan their drive through any one of Canada's 26 busiest border crossings before leaving for the long weekend.

The estimated border wait times are based on "a statistical analysis of past traffic volumes" and are subject to change as a result of unforeseen events, weather conditions, etc.

For instance, if you are driving through the Douglas (Peace Arch) border crossing, which connects Washington state and B.C., the new tool advises you are likely to wait one hour between 5 p.m. and midnight on Saturday.

If you are planning to take the Ambassador Bridge which connects Detroit, Mich., and Windsor, Ont., the new tool informs you there will be an expected wait time of 45 minutes between 4-5 p.m. on Sunday.​

If you are coming back from a shopping trip in Plattsburgh, N.Y., this weekend, the wait time at the St-Bernard-de-Lacolle Highway 15 border crossing could set you back approximately half an hour between 6 p.m. and midnight on Monday.

The new tool will tell you what the average daily wait time is for any day of the week as well as any statutory holiday including Canada Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It is intended to complement the online Current Border Wait Times table, which is said to be updated "at least once an hour, 24 hours a day and seven days a week."

Current border wait times are posted on Twitter via @BWT_CBSA. The information is checked every 15 minutes, but the agency only tweets when there is a change in the wait time, a spokesperson for the agency told CBC News in an email.

Twitter accounts for each port of entry have also been created to make it easier for users to receive specific border wait times updates on their smartphones.

The CBSA is not responsible for posting the wait times when you cross into the U.S. as those are managed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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