BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Peace Bridge operated solely on a generator for nearly 24 hours. The power was restored around 3:30 a.m. Thursday.
Neighbors around the Peace Bridge noticed the power go out briefly before sunrise and then it came back on. The Peace Bridge power didn’t come back. A backup generator kicked in, so everything seemed normal until early afternoon.
“I think it was about two o’clock and everything was going fine and then the lights went off above the booths and then the lines completely stopped, so we weren’t moving at all,” said Canadian driver Katie Thompson.
That’s when even the backup generator stopped working for almost three hours. Customs officers could use only laptops according the Peace Bridge Authority Executive Director Ron Rienas.
“I really have to commend Customs and Border Protection. They did an excellent job of maintaining at least some functionality at the border and my understanding is they were using laptops in the booths with remote access to bypass the computers that did not have power.”
This is the first time the Peace Bridge has run on a generator this long, since the October surprise eight years ago, and it’s the first time in memory that the generator itself broke down.
Peace Bridge officials brought in a backup to the backup generator just in case it happens again. National Grid technicians spent the evening trying to pinpoint an underground cable failure along Busti Avenue that they say only affects the Peace Bridge.
Canadian traveler Dick Ernst says his crossing was just as quick as usual.
“Actually the trucks were backed up quite a bit further today than when I usually cross, probably about a mile into Canada.”
A National Grid spokesperson says crews hope to fix the problem sometime Wednesday night.