Logjam at North Sydney ferry terminal starts to clear, but more delays could be in store
The weather threatens to cause even more delays for Marine Atlantic ferries, which is only beginning to recover from its worst string of cancellations this winter.
Some trucks in North Sydney have been stranded there since Friday, and while the backlog is starting to move, some might not get out on Wednesday.
After four days stranded, the ferry to Newfoundland was finally ready to set sail again on Tuesday.
With more than 300 commercial trucks waiting to board Tuesday morning, the terminal looked more like a parking lot.
The driver of one eighteen-wheeler from Ontario arrived to find out he is on a long waiting list.
“Yeah, I'm in the hundreds – waiting,” said Thomas Lambert. “I might get on tomorrow. If not, maybe the next day.”
A howling winter wind that lasted all weekend - leading to Marine Atlantic's longest stretch of weather delays this winter.
At a motel down the road from the ferry terminal, storm-stayed truckers couldn't wait to check out.
“They were extremely relieved to get out of here,” said Melanie Leblanc. “Some of them had been here for like a few days, since Saturday or so.”
The trucks are hauling everything from groceries, to hardware and automotive parts.
While some were able to cross the Cabot Strait on Tuesday, with a backlog like this, there won't be room for everyone.
“With 300 commercial trucks in North Sydney, we may not be able to transport all of them right away,” said Darrell Mercer of Marine Atlantic. “Because, as we move through (Tuesday), more traffic is going to arrive.”
With a winter storm warning in effect for Wednesday, there is the potential for even further backlog.
“Normally, if we have weather that can cooperate for a period of time, we can recover from that fairly quickly,” Mercer said. “But if you're getting the whammy of two systems moving in back-to-back, it certainly hampers our efforts.”
Mercer says they're putting all hands on deck to clear as much of the backlog as they can before the weather hits.
He says a decision is coming soon on Wednesday's crossings and late Tuesday night they said they expected Wednesday night crossings to be affected.
Mercer says they'll be continuing to monitor the marine forecast and provide up-to-date travel information as soon as it's available.
If they're cancelled again, there are some who will benefit.
“It is a great boost in business for us,” Leblanc said. “Other peoples' misfortune is our good fortune.”
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.