Representing the Ambassador Bridge company in Detroit to the media has to be one of the toughest PR jobs around the north American continent. Owner Matty Moroun, his son Manuel and company president Dan Stamper are probably the subjects of more passionate vilification - by no means entirely unearned - than all the rest of the toll execs in north America combined.
The privately owned and controversial Ambassador Bridge company have released their traffic numbers for 2010. They show a good recovery on 2009 (11.5% overall) and stronger for the high-toll truck traffic - up 17.4%.
50 inches of snow (1.27m) at the weekend and driving winds closed H402 Monday stranding thousands of motorists in their vehicles on the Ontario approach highway to the Blue Water Bridge. Canadian and US officials closed the bridge Tuesday eastbound to long-distance trucks to prevent them adding to the congestion on H402 in Ontario. The US approaches to the bridge on I-69 and I-75 are backed up with trucks for many miles.
The contempt of court case brought against the Ambassador Bridge company by Michigan DOT will be ruled on by Judge Prentis Edwards on January 10. Testimony in the case in Wayne County Circuit Court finished up today. The Judge asked both sides for a summary of their case to be submitted by Jan 4 - maximum length ten pages, but he didn't specify minimum font size.
A formal statement by the the Ambassador Bridge company confirms reports earlier this week that they've settled the long-running legal dispute with property owners requiring an expensive truck overpass for access.
Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel 'Matty' Moroun dramatically transformed what was billed as a short, narrowly focussed "contempt of court" issue before a Wayne County Court judge into a broader hearing of the merits of a long-running dispute between Michigan DOT and the Bridge company.
After the Windsor Star carried a story last month that the Ambassador Bridge company had shelved plans to rebuild the deck of the 80 year old bridge we carried pictures from the company of heavy equipment actually working on the redeck project.
A judge in Wayne Co Michigan (Detroit) Prentis Edwards cancelled a contempt hearing against the Ambassador Bridge company today having been told they have filed a motion to transfer the case to a federal court. Michigan DOT succeeded earlier this year in getting a state court order against the Ambassador Bridge to demolish approach works that don't conform with an agreed $230m Gateway project contract.
The Ambassador Bridge in Detroit needs a new deck, everyone agrees. An official inspection last year said the main span deck had "cracked, unsound, and broken concrete, exposing significantly corroded reinforcing steel." The bridge company agrees. They've committed to redecking the 80 year old bridge.
The Ambassador Bridge company is having experts design an emergency floating bridge to be deployed should the main suspension span be damaged in a terrorist strike. American Consulting Professionals of Michigan PLLC of Livonia MI part of American/Avalon will design the floating structure which they term "Bridge-on-Demand."