Letter: Transporting hazardous materials on Ambassador Bridge threatens Detroiters

The Detroit News

I am one of thousands of Detroiters who lives in the vicinity of the 90-plus-year-old Ambassador Bridge, and so I read with interest the opinion of Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon (Re: "Driving hazmat over Ambassador Bridge is safer for Michigan," Oct. 7) about changing the rules to allow hazardous materials to cross the Ambassador Bridge.

Since its opening in 1929, hazardous materials labeled as corrosive, flammable or explosive have never been permitted to cross the Ambassador, and instead are routed to either the Detroit/Windsor Truck Ferry or the Blue Water Bridge. There is a very good and simple reason for that — human safety.

The Ambassador Bridge is 91 years old, in poor condition, and in need of repairs and restoration, Hunter writes.

Despite what the sheriff said or believes, it is the safety of our community, our families, truckers and other essential workers using the bridge that make it necessary for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and MDOT to keep hazardous materials off the Ambassador Bridge.

The Ambassador Bridge is 91 years old and in need of repairs and restoration.  It requires regular and transparent inspections to provide a bare minimum level of safety for our communities, and yet the Detroit International Bridge Company has historically limited government inspectors' access to the bridge. In fact, MDOT, in response to the DIBC’s hazmat request a few years ago, stated that a review of a detailed inspection report found the bridge lacked fire suppression technology

I urge the Whitmer administration and MDOT to keep the current routing restrictions for the good of my neighborhood and for all the drivers that must use the bridge.

I, along with hundreds of community members, signed a petition standing up for our health and safety and opposing DIBC’s most recent request, and we were joined by the entire Wayne County Commission, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, state Sen. Stephanie Chang and Detroit Councilwoman Raquel Castañeda-Lòpez.

You don’t have to use the bridge or live near it to be threatened by unsafe transport of hazardous materials on it. If hazardous materials enter the Detroit River from the bridge because of inadequate safety precautions, toxic materials could threaten the region’s drinking water. What we want is simple — our health and safety. DIBC’s request puts our communities at unacceptable risk and should be rejected. Believe me, it’s what you would want for your family, too.

Kim Hunter, Detroit