The owner of the Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor, Ont., to Detroit is suing the U.S. and Canadian governments over claims that the two are interfering with his right to build a second span next to the existing bridge.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Coast Guard returned Matty Moroun's permit application for the twin span, citing unresolved property issues and several court actions pending against the bridge.
The courts have ordered Moroun to demolish the duty-free complex on the Detroit side of North America's busiest international bridge.
The Ammex Global Marketplace is deemed to be on city property and in conflict with the $230-million-US Gateway Project plan, which aims to connect Detroit's Interstate 75 and Interstate 96 highways with the bridge.
Ambassador Bridge spokesman Phil Frame said both government actions are interfering with the ability of Moroun's Detroit International Bridge Co. to carry out its "mission" of operating the Detroit River crossing.
"The rights that we were granted and which we use to base our investments over the years — hundreds of millions of dollars of investments — we want to have clarification of these rights as they were originally given 80 years ago."
Frame said Moroun believes the governments are either trying to devalue his property so they can take the Ambassador Bridge over or put the bridge out of business to reduce competition for a new crossing to be built downriver.