20th June 2019

BRIDGE BATTLE POSTPONES HUGE PAINT CONTRACTS

If and when it is built, the Gordie Howe Bridge linking Windsor, ON, with Detroit will be one of the biggest paint jobs Canada has seen in years. However, its progress has been slowed by legal actions by Manuel 'Matty' Moroun, the owner of the existing Ambassador Bridge that links the two cities.

Moroun has launched numerous legal challenges to the Gordie Howe project, named for the late Canadian hockey player, which would be built about two miles south of the Ambassador. It would be a public bridge, run by a Canadian Crown corporation, whereas the Ambassador is run privately by Moroun’s Detroit International Bridge Co. The Ambassador is currently the busiest border crossing between the US and Canada in terms of trade volume.

The latest blow to Moroun’s efforts came in early March, when Judge Robert Colombo Jr., of the Wayne County Circuit Court, denied his request to stop condemnation proceedings on property he owns that is in the way of the proposed bridge. Moroun owns a total of 17 properties in the immediate area, including a trucking depot, and can appeal the decision.

In addition to the motion to stop the condemnation, Moroun filed suit in January against Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, accusing him of circumventing the Michigan legislature in arrangements made with the Canadian government related to the Gordie Howe. That suit is still pending.

Previously, Maroun filed numerous suits, most revolving around claims that arrangements between US and Canadian officials had been in violation of various laws. A suit that claimed that federal approval of the bridge was unconstitutional was rejected by a US federal judge in January.

The 87-year-old Ambassador Bridge has been subject to scrutiny over its safety and soundness. Last year Canadian officials said barriers that were in place for repairs were insufficient to stop a car from falling off. In 2012, Moroun and Detroit International official Dan Stamper were jailed a dispute with Michigan officials over the construction of ramps to and from the Bridge.

www.wdbridge.com/en/windsor-detroit-bridge-authority