Border Crossings to be Busy During World Junior Championships

All lanes at border crossings will be open to car traffic

Tom Puckett
December 22, 2017 - 4:00 am

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) As the World Junior Hockey Championships gear up next week, border crossings will be busy. Border officials have advice for you if you're crossing the border.

"Sometimes depending on the popularity of the games, traffic can exceed facility capability, meaning we only have so many lanes to open and if there are more cars than lanes open, there will be delays," explains Aaron Bowker of Customs and Border Protection. "Just like we do with the Sabres and Bills, we will staff for the games," adds Bowker. He says CBP will work with stakeholders to help get traffic across quickly. One way to help yourself get over the border faster is showing your game tickets. "Have your IDs ready, have your tickets available to show the officer if you're going to the game. Prepare for a couple of extra questions from officers because they have security in mind to make sure people they're screening who say they're going to the event are actually going and not trying to blend in," says Bowker.

Ron Reinas at the Peace Bridge Authority says he has a commitment from all border crossings all lanes will be open durnig peak times, including opening commercial lanes to car traffic. "Going into the US, the lanes will be open early, so people should leave more time for a game than when they normally cross the border," advises Reinas. He adds if you have a NEXUS card, use the Whirlpool Bridge to get across faster, as it's a NEXUS only bridge crossing.

“Coordination between local partners, U.S. and Canadian Customs and advanced notice from tour and bus operators will be critical in moving traffic in a safe and efficient manner,” said Kenneth Bieger, General Manager of the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission. “The Peace Bridge Authority and the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission are committed to doing our part to manage all four of our region’s border crossings, and look forward to welcoming Buffalo’s many visitors.”

As part of the coordination between agencies and organizations around border traffic for the World Junior Championship tournament, the group will undertake various efforts leading up to and throughout the duration of the tournament, including:

  • Sharing advanced and real-time ticket data regarding potential high-volume traffic games
  • Vetting participating team/country rosters prior to border arrival to help expedite review process
  • Implementing strategic Customs primary inspection lane staffing plans throughout the tournament
  • Providing additional plaza support staff and lane management staff to help traffic flow
  • Working with motor coach and tour operators to provide information and passenger manifestos to help expedite the Customs inspection process
  • Consistently communicating suggested best crossing times to fans and motorists through social media and other public communications and traffic apps
  • Working with elected officials and other public/governmental entities to distribute information about border travel around the games
  • Implementing a specific traffic management plan for the U.S. versus Canada outdoor game date
  • Coordinating with local law enforcement (New York State Troopers, Ontario Provincial Police, etc.) to assist in efficient traffic management and potential violation processing on game days

Thirty-one games will be played as part of the eleven-day tournament, and one of the preliminary rounds will include a U.S. versus Canada game, held outdoors at New Era Field on Dec. 29, 2017. The IIHF World Junior Championship is one of the most highly anticipated annual international ice hockey events, and includes the best male players under the age of twenty, from ten nations around the world. Participating teams are expected to begin arriving in Buffalo Niagara Dec. 22-25, 2017 and will depart beginning Jan. 6, 2018.

“We’re excited to host thousands of visitors from all around the world in Buffalo for the World Junior Championship, and our tournament committee and partner organizations are doing a great job of making sure travel experiences will be as seamless as possible,” said Michael Gilbert, senior vice president of the Buffalo Sabres and general manager of HarborCenter. “We appreciate the collaboration of the region’s transportation, tourism and security organizations to ensure that border crossings are as streamlined and safe as possible during this world class event to ensure our international visitors enjoy an optimal experience while here for the tournament.


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