Detroit International Bridge Company still has work to do

Ambassador Bridge ramp to be completed by spring

By Dave Battagello, The Windsor Star

WINDSOR, Ont. — A new ramp for trucks exiting the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit should be completed by spring, but there is still work to be done on the rest of the plaza to comply with the $230-million Gateway project, says the Michigan Department of Transportation.

The plaza has been a maze for travellers attempting to get on the bridge in Detroit the last few years after owner Matty Moroun failed to live up to an agreement with the state, MDOT says.

The state retaliated by blocking newly constructed access ramps leading directly to the bridge and travellers have been forced to use local streets and service drives to get on and off the bridge.

Once inside the plaza, cars are forced to drive past Moroun’s duty free store and gas pumps before getting on the bridge.

A Detroit judge ruled in February 2010 that Moroun had to tear down structures, build proper ramps and change the plaza design. The billionaire bridge owner was jailed briefly for contempt last month after he failed to comply with the court order.

An appeal of the sentence will be heard Thursday in the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Meanwhile, MDOT says plenty of work remains to be done on the plaza aside from the truck ramp – most notably a dedicated public road for traffic within the plaza.

Several piers of Moroun’s start on a second twin span are also identified as “conflicting structures” that interfere with dedicated public roads within the plaza, according to MDOT.

The bridge company says nowhere in the gateway contract are the words “dedicated public road,” noting the plaza is located on private property.

It also argues none of the piers need to be altered or torn down.