Canadians order Moroun to fix Ambassador’s curbs, rails

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News

Curbs and railings on the Canadian end of the Ambassador Bridge are deteriorated enough to prompt an emergency work order from the Canadian government, according to a notice by Transport Canada.

Transport Canada issued an emergency direction Friday to the Canadian Transit Co., the Canadian segment of the companies owned by Grosse Pointe billionaire Manuel “Matty” Moroun that manage the bridge, to mend the deficiencies that pose a risk to the public. Moroun’s other company affiliated with the bridge, the Detroit International Bridge Co., handles operations on the U.S. side of the Detroit River.

The deficiencies, which are not described in much detail in the notice, revealed in a news release Saturday, were found during an August safety inspection.

The emergency direction calls for Moroun to install a temporary concrete barrier on the right Canadian-bound lane on the bridge from “the abutment of the bridge adjacent to the Canadian custom plaza to the Canadian tower adjacent to the suspended span, and on the United States-bound easternmost lane of the Ambassador Bridge from the abutment of the bridge adjacent to the Canadians custom plaza to the Canadian tower adjacent to the suspended span.”

A representative for the Canadian Transit Co. could not be reached for comment Sunday.

According to the news release from Transport Canada, the government agency has previously told the company about the railings and curbs.

“The safety of the Ambassador Bridge is of critical importance,” said Canadian Minister of Transport Marc Garneau in the release. “I support the measures taken by my department to protect public safety. I ask the Canadian Transit Co. ... to do everything it can to speed up repair work in order to reduce crossing delays. Should action not be taken in a timely manner, I will not hesitate to take additional safety measures.”

Garneau’s department issued the direction under the International Bridges and Tunnels Act.

Transport Canada said travelers and commercial vehicles should plan ahead for delays on the bridge.

The Moroun family has been planning to build a second span over the Detroit River downriver from the Ambassador Bridge.

Moroun has been pushing the federal government to approve the second span, which would cost $400 million. Officials in Canada and the United States have continued to make plans for a new, publicly owned international crossing, to be named the Gordie Howe International Bridge.

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Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau