Judge orders Ambassador Bridge president to court

| 4/27/2010

A judge in Michigan is asking Detroit River Bridge Co. President Dan Stamper why he should not be held in contempt for failing to deal with a previous order to demolish structures illegally built on city-owned land near the Ambassador Bridge.

Back in February, Wayne County Court Judge Prentis Edwards ordered Stamper, who runs the company for Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun, to demolish a toll booth, a duty-free shop and a fuel station that encroached on Detroit public land. The company built the structures as part of a plan to build a new bridge and expand operations.

The demolition hasn’t happened yet, so Edwards has ordered Stamper to appear May 10 to explain.

Moroun and Stamper continue to push for a new bridge despite court actions and a U.S. Coast Guard ruling against them.

Meanwhile, government officials on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border have proposed to build a new structure downstream, which would be publicly owned.

Approximately 10,000 commercial vehicles cross the existing Ambassador Bridge each day. The aging structure is grossly inadequate for trucks and border crossings. In addition, through traffic is forced to negotiate city streets to and from the bridge.

In an ideal scenario, a new bridge – whether public or private – would give through traffic easier access to major highways on both sides of the border.

– By David Tanner, associate editor