Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bridge battle — more skirmishes

Posted By on Thu, Jun 25, 2009 at 6:53 PM

First Ambassador Bridge officials complained that a dirt pile was slowing work on their Gateway Project. Then the Michigan Department of Transportation filed a lawsuit claiming breach of contract by the bridge company.

MDOT, according to published reports, says the Detroit International Bridge Co., owned by Grosse Pointe Shores bazillionaire Manuel “Matty” Moroun, has made changes to the Gateway Project that have threatened federal funding of the $240 million project.

The state filed suit Wednesday in Wayne County Circuit Court.

The bridge company, meanwhile, sued MDOT earlier this month, claiming the state had delayed the Gateway Project’s opening.

The Gateway Project involves reconstruction of Interstates 75 and 96, 18 overpasses and 24 ramps, and involves a consortium of local, state and federal agencies working with the privately owned bridge company. The project's goal is to improve access to the U.S.-Canadian crossing that carries an estimated 23 percent of all surface trade between the countries, according to MDOT.

The state, while a partner on the Gateway Project, is also supportive of the $3 billiion Detroit River International Crossing proposed for a location further downriver from the Ambassador Bridge. It would compete with Moroun’s businesses at the Ambassador Bridge.

Stay tuned.

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