Crews begin dismantling controversial ramp next to Ambassador Bridge

By John Gallagher
Detroit Free Press Business Writer

Construction crews are rapidly dismantling Pier 19, the “ramp to nowhere” alongside the Ambassador Bridge that came to symbolize the years-long fight between the government and the Moroun family that owns the bridge.

The Moroun family’s Detroit International Bridge Co. had fought in recent years to delay or block removal of its Pier 19, which they hoped would be the start of a second span to Windsor.

But on March 8, Wayne County Circuit Judge Prentis Edwards ordered the Michigan Department of Transportation to take over the bridge company’s portion of the Gateway project, the long-delayed effort to link the Ambassador to nearby interstates through new ramps.

The state contended, and Edwards agreed, that Pier 19 stood in the way of completion of a truck road being built as part of the Gateway project.

Last week, Dan’s Excavating, a Shelby Township company with broad experience in bridge and highway construction, won the bid to complete Gateway for MDOT.

Long-time opponents of the bridge company delighted in the removal of Pier 19.

State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat who represents southwest Detroit in the state legislature, posted her reaction on the Internet: “What a sight to see! … I went by and honked my horn with a thumbs up out the window. The workers enjoyed it. It was also just so exciting to see real progress finally!”