Document reveals banned hazmat crossing border bridge

| 4/14/2006

Investigative reporting by The Windsor Star has revealed that banned hazardous cargo has been crossing the Ambassador Bridge with the help of a permission letter, and in some cases, trucking companies removing the hazmat placards from trucks.

U.S. regulations ban corrosives, explosives, flammable materials and radioactive materials from crossing the Ambassador Bridge, which links Detroit to the Canadian city of Windsor.

Hazmat truckers are allowed to transport those materials via a Detroit River ferry or over the Blue Water Bridge at Port Huron/Sarnia.

The Star reported that a letter from International Bridge Company General Manager Dave Jolly to bridge employees states that General Chemical Corp. may transport aluminum sulfate – a mild corrosive known as alum – across the bridge seven days a week.

Regulatory agencies and politicians have called for an official investigation following the claim by The Star, which is being refuted by some bridge sources.

The Ambassador Bridge, at the busiest trade link between the U.S. and Canada, is privately owned by trucking mogul Matty Moroun, and he has some say in what crosses and what doesn’t.

Enforcement of hazmat regulations takes place in the lead-up to the bridge and not on Moroun property because, as The Star reported, Moroun doesn’t allow certain regulatory agencies or state police on his property.

A new report in the region calls for a new bridge – a twin to the Ambassador – to be built with better access roads to take some of the gridlock away from city streets.