Drivers Are Now Less Likely to Plummet to Their Deaths From the Ambassador Bridge

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
drivers are now less likely to plummet to their deaths from the ambassador bridge

The iconic ( Ambassador Bridge is an impressive feat of engineering, but the march of time leaves both scars and decay.

No longer occupying the centerfold in plastic-wrapped copies of Bridges Monthly, the critical cross-border link spanning the Detroit River has received a temporary band-aid after officials determined there wasn’t much holding vehicles back from a 152-foot plunge.

According to the Detroit Free Press, temporary barricades are now in place after the Canadian government issued an emergency order earlier this month. Transportation regulator Transport Canada declared that the curb and railing on the Windsor side, in its current state, “would not deflect traffic back onto the bridge should traffic impact such curb and railing.”

The move comes almost a year after the city of Windsor closed streets below the 87-year-old bridge due to falling concrete.

The Windsor Star reports that 5,000 Zoneguard barriers are now installed along the outer lanes in both directions. The barriers have caused some temporary traffic disruption on the busiest crossing between the two countries, but that’s nothing compared to what a repair job will do to vehicle flow. Both countries desperately want a new bridge, but the process is slow (and made slower by the Ambassador’s owner).

Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel (Matty) Moroun wants to build his own bridge, while Canada wants to chip in big bucks for the planned Gordie Howe International Bridge, just downstream from the Ambassador. The Moroun family is reportedly planning a new legal salvo to launch at proponents of the Gordie Howe bridge.

Canada’s transportation minister has issued a warning to the Moroun-controlled company in charge of the bridge.

“I ask the Canadian Transit Company, as the bridge’s owner, to do everything it can to speed up repair work in order to reduce crossing delays,” said Marc Garneau in a statement. “Should action not be taken in a timely manner, I will not hesitate to take additional safety measures.”

After setting up the Zoneguard barriers, the bridge’s owner didn’t let the bridge issue slide. In a statement, company president Dan Stamper said he was still waiting for a “‘green light’ from Transport Canada to begin construction of the new Ambassador Bridge second span.”

[Image: Stephen Boyle/ Flickr]

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  • ScottMcG ScottMcG on Sep 18, 2016

    Former Moroun employee here - spent a lot of time in the Principal's office at the school in Warren, quite a few years back. And I have 2 observations: 1. How the hell is Matty still alive? And why isn't his son calling the shots by now? Matthew always struck me as a smart guy who hadn't been completely corrupted by his father. Think Vader/Palpatine. 2. The only motivation Matty has to do anything is if it brings him money or power. He gives zero f#cks about anything else. Not Detroit, not people, not anything. In this light, everything here makes sense.

  • Operagost Operagost on Sep 19, 2016

    Because the government doesn't have the exclusive right to build roads or bridges? Tell me how a private person should NOT own one. Most roads were privately owned once, and any trip for more than a few miles was likely to run into a toll booth. People in the industrial era were understandably miffed by this, so state governments purchased these old turnpikes and made them public, toll-free roads. That didn't last long before the government started bypassing these free roads with new highways and bridges that had tolls on them.

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