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Second bogus bomb threat in days shuts down major US-Canada crossing

BombThreatBridge.JPG

July 16, 2012: The U.S. Border patrol blocks Fort Street in Detroit following a bomb threat that closed the Ambassador Bridge to Canada. (AP)

For the second time in days, a bogus bomb threat closed a major crossing in Detroit between the U.S. and Canada for several hours.

Detroit police said a 911 call came in around 7:20 p.m. Monday to authorities on the U.S. side of the Ambassador Bridge, which links Detroit with the Canadian city of Windsor. The caller said a bomb would go off in 10 minutes along the busy freight crossing, police Inspector Don Johnson said during news conference Monday night.

The call prompted authorities in both cities to halt all truck and car traffic across the bridge, said Detroit police spokeswoman Sgt. Eren Stephens.

The bridge was reopened around 1 a.m. Tuesday after security sweeps failed to turn up any incendiary devices, Stephens said.

She said traffic was backed up but is expected to be clear by Tuesday morning's rush hour.

"We have over 100 trucks (waiting to cross), so it's going to take some time," she said.

Monday's bomb threat came just four days after a similar threat was phoned in to Windsor authorities that lead to a four-hour closing of the Detroit Windsor Tunnel, a busy border crossing beneath the river that also connects the two border cities. No explosives were found.

At the time, police said a man had called from a street pay phone and warned of a bomb on the Canadian side of the tunnel. Authorities have since said surveillance video from a coffee shop near the phone booth where the call was made might offer clues about the caller.

Johnson said the call Monday came in from somewhere in Detroit, though other details weren't immediately released.

Police had set up several roadblocks near the bridge, where canine units were called in to search the bridge. The Coast Guard was patrolling the Detroit River beneath the bridge and blocked river traffic until about 1 a.m. Tuesday as well.

The closing led to major traffic backups on expressways and other major roads leading into downtown Detroit, Stephens said. Car and light truck traffic was being diverted to the Detroit Windsor Tunnel about 2 miles away, though large trucks cannot use the underwater commuter tunnel.

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