Ambassador Bridge to Comply…sort of

MIRS News

Ambassador Bridge Pledges To Comply On Gateway Project

The Detroit International Bridge Company (DIBC) today announced that it is moving forward to complete its work on the Gateway Project with compliance of the court order, but officials continue to disagree with the Department of Transportation (MDOT) on some design issues.

Under the plan, the Ambassador Bridge would be connected to the interstate, MDOT will be allowed to build the road that is necessary to connect the toll booths with the bridge and current toll booths will be moved.

However, the DIBC will not remove its refueling stations or remove a pillar that it claims is part of its plans to make a second span connecting Detroit and Windsor. The DIBC is pledging to complete construction by Jan. 2012, as ordered by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Prentis Edwards.

“Attorney Reginald Turner will help guide the DIBC through the completion of the Gateway Project,” said DIBC President Dan Stamper. “If we run into problems Mr. Turner will meet with the MDOT attorneys, the court monitor, Judge Edwards, or anyone else he deems necessary to keep construction on schedule.

MDOT completed new ramps from the freeway in May 2009, but the Ambassador Bridge folks didn’t follow agreed-to designs that it claims is a fatal flaw.

“It is time that MDOT opens those ramps and fulfills the promise of direct access to the Ambassador Bridge,” reads the Ambassador Bridge release.

MDOT Metro Region Engineer Tony Kratofil said he will believe the DIBC’s commitment when he sees it.

“Actions speak louder than words, and with the Ambassador Bridge and the Moroun’s (who own the bridge), it is clear that to date their actions have not lived up to their verbal announcements and written commitments to the people of the state of Michigan,” he said. “Time will only tell whether they do so in the future.”

He said the Ambassador Bridge, for the past year and a half, has stubbornly failed to comply with Edwards’ orders to honor that contractual agreement.

Tom SHIELDS, spokesman for the New International Trade Crossing project, said he was skeptical considering former U.S. District Court Judge Patrick DUGGAN‘s observation that the DIBC has “devised the most creative schemes and maneuvers to delay compliance with a court order” he’s ever seen.

“After losing a dozen straight court rulings, having his president thrown in jail and facing a $100,000 a day fine, and a judge who is losing his patience . . . the Ambassador Bridge says they will comply with the court order – sort of,” Shields said. “They are not talking down the gas pumps, duty free shop or twinning ramp . . . Color me skeptical.”