Ambassador Bridge request to accommodate dangerous goods denied
The Michigan Department of Transportation denied the Detroit International Bridge Company permission to increase the amount of dangerous goods that can cross its Ambassador Bridge.
The bridge company had been seeking to transport gases, flammable liquid, peroxides, poisonous and corrosive materials to be allowed to cross the span while being escorted.
The announcement came Friday, after eight months of reviewing comments from the public and after several meetings with law enforcement and emergency responders on both sides of the border.
"We heard a lot of concerns from our Canadian friends," MDOT spokesperson Rob Morosi told CBC News. "We took all those concerns into account."
Morosi said Mayor Eddie Francis and NDP MP Brian Masse were two of several people and groups who commented on the proposal.
"We heard a lot from the public and stakeholders. We did hear concerns regarding neighbourhood safety and things of that nature," Morosi said. "Some of those concerns seemed to be personal. We threw those out. The factual comments we took seriously."
Morosi said federal law mandates that any changes in the routing of hazardous materials should be granted "if the change enhances public safety."
"We saw no net improvement. So, we did not grant the request of the Ambassador Bridge," Morosi said. "There was no enhancement to public safety. That's what the law states, that's what we had to work with. So we did not grant that modification."
Morosi said had the decision favoured the bridge company, Canada would have then had to address the issue.
"We could only go up to the border. Anything [going] over the border after that ... Canada's a sovereign nation, they would have had to make that decision on their own," Morosi said.
Currently, potentially dangerous goods cross the Detroit River on a ferry owned by the Canadian Maritime Transport Limited headed by Greg Ward, from Windsor.
For 23 years, the ferry has carried flammable and corrosive materials, such as paint, alcohol, gasoline, diesel fuel and corrosives used in the automotive industry. The ferry runs between Brighton Beach in west Windsor and the heavily industrialized Zug Island in Michigan.