Battle for new bridge spans the Detroit River

| 3/23/2007

Just who will win the race to begin constructing a new bridge and border crossing over the Detroit River remains up in the air.

But officials with the Detroit International Bridge Co., which owns the aging and congested Ambassador Bridge, claim they have a leg up with their latest plan.

The company received an environmental permit in mid-March from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality - a crucial step in the procedure. But the company needs to obtain more authorizations from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Canadian government and the provincial Ontario government before breaking any ground.

Company owner and trucking company mogul Matty Moroun, who profits from controlling the infrastructure at the busiest border crossing between the U.S. and Canada, has vowed to build a $1 billion bridge span as a twin to the 78-year-old Ambassador Bridge.

However, in 2006, a bi-national commission recommended that a new border crossing be built and operated jointly by governments on both sides. The commission recommended that the bridge should be located two miles from the Ambassador to move congestion away from the bottlenecked streets of Windsor, Ontario, Canada.