Debris closes Windsor streets under Ambassador Bridge

The Detroit News

Windsor city officials closed two more streets beneath the Ambassador Bridge and are keeping another closed after an inspection found debris falling from the span.

Visual inspection was performed on the underside of the bridge over all street crossings by structural engineers, according to a news release posted on the city’s website Wednesday.

“The city will be meeting with Ambassador Bridge representatives as soon as possible to determine next steps prior to reopening any of the areas,” the statement said.​​

Donnelly and Peter streets were the latest to be closed. Wyandotte Street West has been closed since Friday as a precaution “due to information about fallen debris” from the bridge, the city said.

City officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

But the Detroit International Bridge Co. accused Windsor officials Thursday of “taunting us by criticizing the age of our bridge while simultaneously objecting to any major replacement or repairs.”

The Ambassador Bridge owners have been fighting efforts by Michigan and the Canadian government to build a new, $2 billion bridge and have sought to block the effort so they can build a second, private span. The Detroit International Bridge Co., which owns the bridge over the Detroit River, wants to build another span next to the 85-year-old Ambassador. A federal judge recently threw out eight of nine counts of a 2010 lawsuit filed by the bridge owners challenging the proposed public-private span.

Canada is supplying Michigan's $550 million share of the bridge, which will have to be repaid through tolls.

“The game of holding the Ambassador Bridge rebuild work at bay until the government can get their bridge built is a dangerous one,” the bridge company said in a statement.

“It needs to be said that the City of Windsor has worked very hard to delay and object to a complete rebuild of this section of the bridge. The work was to have been performed this past summer. If the city found a genuine issue in need of repair that our engineer has missed, we’ll take care of it. We are not aware of any incidents linked to the city’s concerns. The major rebuild should be allowed to proceed.”

Windsor Fire & Rescue Services officials said crews would provide an aerial truck to assist city engineers on Thursday.

According to the Windsor Star, a fire truck helped a city-hired structural engineer check parts of the bridge’s platform Wednesday to see if more roads and sidewalks below needed to be closed.

Transport Canada inspected the bridge in June and identified required repairs; the bridge company has started them and recently said a Pennsylvania-based engineering firm would replace the bridge’s crumbling railings next spring, the Windsor Star reported.