Judge finds Moroun’s bridge company in contempt in Gateway Project clash
Tom Greenwood / The Detroit News
Detroit — A Wayne County Circuit Court judge Thursday determined the Detroit International Bridge Co. is in contempt of court for failing to complete its portion of the $230 million Gateway Project.
But Judge Prentis Edwards deferred imposing possible sanctions against Matty Moroun’s bridge company until Jan. 12.
Bridge Co. president Dan Stamper showed no reaction to Edwards’ decision and said his company had no comment other than to say that the company wanted to “analyze what the judge had to say.”
In a brief and to the point summation, Edwards said there was “clear and unequivocal evidence that the DIBC was in civil contempt,” and he noted that the Ambassador Bridge owners had failed to build agreed upon roads and ramps at the bridge plaza.
Edwards also said the bridge company had failed to removed four piers at the bridge that interfered with the original plans for the Gateway Project, and that the deliberate delays by the company had put the completion of the project 3 1/2 years behind schedule.
The Gateway project, which began construction in February 2008, realigns Interstates 75 and 96 to create new entrance and exit ramps to the Ambassador Bridge, as well as Mexicantown, and seeks to remove truck traffic from residential streets in southwestern Detroit.
At it issue has been long-disputed structures, including fuel pumps, a portion of a duty-free store and a number of bridge piers.
In a series of lengthy court hearings, the bridge company has argued that its contract with the state gave both parties the right to change construction plans, and that design orders from MDOT were ambiguous.
In January 2010, Edwards found the bridge company in contempt and ordered it to relocate toll booths, refueling stations and a portion of a duty free shop. It also was ordered to build roads and ramps by Jan. 10, 2012.
In October, MDOT asked Edwards to place the bridge company in receivership in order to force it to abide by the contract. Edwards has set a Dec. 1 evidentiary hearing on consideration of the appointment of a receiver.