Jul 7, 2022 - News

New Ambassador Bridge plan nears collapse

The Ambassador Bridge
The Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor. Photo: Nic Antaya/Getty Images

The Moroun family is prepared to abandon long-held plans to build a new Ambassador Bridge to Canada, the Detroit News reports.

Driving the news: Transport Canada requires the existing Ambassador Bridge to be demolished after a new one is built. But the family's bridge company is unwilling to agree to that condition before a crucial permit expires Aug. 30.

  • "Unless Transport Canada drops the condition requiring us to tear down the existing Ambassador Bridge, we do not intend to spend more time, money or effort on that endeavor," Dan Stamper, president of the Detroit International Bridge Co., tells the News.

Why it matters: The company's position is a major reversal after years of planning a new span to compete with the new Gordie Howe International Bridge, which is scheduled to open in 2024.

Context: The 93-year-old Ambassador Bridge has been a source of controversy for decades. Government officials and nearby residents have clashed with the Moroun family about safety and other issues.

  • The Transport Canada permit was issued in 2017 but carried several requirements before construction could start.

Zoom out: Despite the dim outlook for a new bridge, the existing crossing likely will remain open to traffic after the Gordie Howe is finished.

  • The new bridge is expected to be ideal for commercial freight traffic because it connects to highways in both countries, while local drivers will likely continue relying on the Ambassador.

💭 Joe's thought bubble: I can't imagine the Moroun family is out of cards to play to preserve its plan for two bridges. Among other things, the family is known for its patience, savvy and political influence.

  • I'm not throwing dirt on plans for a second Ambassador Bridge just yet.
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