The Ambassador Bridge in Detroit (David Coates / The Detroit News)
Detroit — The Michigan Department of Transportation has denied an application from the Ambassador Bridge owners to remove some of the restrictions on hazardous materials that can be allowed across the span.
MDOT announced its decision Friday afternoon after eight months of listening to stakeholders and weighing extensive public comments on the application for review which was submitted by the Detroit International Bridge Company in November 2008.
“Federal law states that changes in the routing of hazardous materials should be granted if the change enhances public safety,” said MDOT Metro Region Engineer Tony Kratofil. “Utilizing the synopsis report and engagement with law enforcement, first responders, federal agencies and Canadian officials, MDOT determined that no net improvement to public safety would result from granting the modifications requested by the DIBC.”
Kratofil said a large number of negative comments about the proposed change — especially from police, fire and first responders in Windsor — were taken into consideration when coming to a decision.
Currently hazardous materials such as explosives, flammable gases, solids and liquids, oxidizers, poisonous, radioactive or corrosive materials are transported across the river by the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry Service.
Officials for the Detroit International Bridge Co. issued a statement Friday, ripping the decision and blasting Gov. Rick Snyder. The Warren-based company has owned and operated the Ambassador Bridge since 1929.
“By forcing trucks to drive an additional 60 miles through the most populated area in Michigan, Snyder can punish the Ambassador Bridge for opposing his DRIC/NITC bridge,” the statement said. “Worse, Snyder has already declared his bridge will be allowed to handle hazardous trucks; therefor this decision has nothing to do with ‘made-up’ concerns for the local neighborhoods.”
“Unfortunately, Snyder has placed our State in a bad legal position and we will be forced to seek judicial review.”
MDOT also decided that the same hazardous materials would not be allowed to be transported on two walled sections of the Lodge Freeway, including an area from Eight Mile to Wyoming roads and underneath Cobo Center.