On Tuesday, KGVO News spoke with Leo James Wingerter, Great Falls District Administrator with the Montana Department of Transportation about the trucker protest in Canada that began on Saturday over the policy of mandatory COVID vaccination.

Wingerter said the border may still be open, but no trucks are being allowed to cross from Canada into Montana at the I-15 border crossing at Sweetgrass/Coutts.

“At the present time, technically the border is still open,” said Wingerter. “However, the road on the Canadian side is closed as we know it and is closed due to the traffic parked there. We do have a number of vehicles, trucks, cars, pickups, those types of things waiting at the border to cross into the border once the border opens up.”

Wingerter said the traffic has slowed to a crawl at the border.

“At the present time, we don't have any demonstrations going on at the border on the United States side,” he said. “That's about all I have to report to you. It's pretty quiet down here. There are a few vehicles that have come through into the United States side and being allowed through. But there's not a lot of traffic coming into United States either at this at this point in time.”

Wingerter said he does not know who is controlling entry into the U.S. from Canada, but very few vehicles are being allowed through.

“To the best of my knowledge, there are just a few trucks that are being allowed into the United States,” he said. “Some of the some of the cattle trucks I believe have been allowed in. As far as I understand there haven’t been any passenger vehicles allowed into the United States. Whoever is controlling the traffic up there is making those calls. I do know that that we are not able to allow traffic into Canada at this time because the roadways are closed on the other side.”

Wingerter said the U.S. side has been peaceful since the Canadian protest began.

“This started last Saturday that 29th at the border crossing up there and is continuing at this point in time,” he said. “As I said it's peaceful on our side. There's not a lot going on. There are no demonstrations and nothing is taking place on the United States side and our roads are open, however, we cannot get into the Canadian side of the border. We do have the turnarounds available up there if the vehicle has come back south if they wish to but there are a number of vehicles staged at the border as I say in Shelby and in Great Falls.”

According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, commerce in goods between the two countries totaled about $612 billion in 2019, before the pandemic.

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