Construction of a new bridge next to the existing Ambassador Bridge took a giant step forward Wednesday. The federal government of Canada and the Minister of Transport announced approval of the application for a new bridge. Dan Stamper is a spokesperson for the Detroit International Bridge Company. He says the permit approval is the last big step necessary for construction.
“I don’t think there’s any permits left to achieve. I think this opens the door for turning the page with Windsor and the province to have a better relationship. I think there’s been a lot of talk over the years that Canada would never issue this permit” -Don Stamper, DIBC
Stamper says the government of Canada issued the permit because it was the “right thing to do” and, he says it will create many jobs. According to Stamper the new billion-dollar bridge will be the largest cable stay bridge in the U-S
“It’s considerably bigger than the current bridge. The current towers are about 350 feet tall from the water. This cable stay bridge will be more like 600 feet high, so it’s a considerably larger bridge than what exists today”
The plan has not been well received by some government officials in Ontario and in Windsor. The city and the province have filed a number of lawsuits over the years. Stamper says approval of the latest permit should trump any existing lawsuits.
“We’ve got some clearing of properties in Windsor that have been on hold for a while and have been the cruxt of some litigation that should now go away. That’s why I think there’s a new page to be turned with the community and with the city and to move forward”
But repairing the relationship with the City of Windsor and the community of Sandwich, a historic neighborhood that sits in the shadow of the existing bridge, may take more than a new permit. Brian Masse is a Member of Parliament for Windsor West. He says the lack of coordination between the federal government and the provincial and local government has left him confounded.
“This is certainly not the normal process where they like to do ribbon cuttings and a number of different showcases. Maybe perhaps that’s because we don’t know a lot of the details yet about this. But this is about our economy, our environment and our community and I have higher expectations than this type nonsense” – Brian Masse MP, Windsor West
Masse says he finds it illogical that the federal government of Canada would agree to pay for the new Gordie Howe International Bridge, just two miles downriver from the existing bridge, only to approve the permit for a second span of the Ambassador Bridge.
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