Ambassador Bridge Owner Won’t Reapply for 2nd Span Permit Before It Expires in August | Radio-Canada News

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The company that owns the Ambassador Bridge from Windsor, Ont., to Detroit says it has no immediate plans to apply for a permit from Transport Canada to build a second span for the key trade route.

The Canadian Transit Company, which operates the Canadian half of the span, obtained a permit from Transport Canada in 2017 to build the second span on the condition that construction begin within five years, but it expires on August 30.

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“With respect to new requests, circumstances may change and cause us to submit a new request, but we have no new requests pending,” company spokeswoman Esther Jentzen said in a statement. , which also takes care of another permit. that has a condition that conflicts with Transport Canada requirements.

The news does not disappoint some residents, including Dan Hussey of Sandwich Towne, the Windsor neighborhood adjacent to the bridge.

“Wow, I think that was great. I don’t think we need a second half,” he said.

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The permit issued by Transport Canada calls for the over 90-year-old bridge to be demolished when the new span is completed; but a permit issued by the US Coast Guard requires the old bridge to remain in place.

The bridge company’s statement reads in part: “Transport Canada issued a permit that conflicted with the U.S. Coast Guard permit we had previously received. It did so with knowledge of the conflict and without consult the US Coast Guard.”

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“Indeed, the permit from Transport Canada was not a permit at all, and it cost us time, money and effort. We have spent the last few years working diligently to repair our bridge. existing and it is ready for the future. We will look for opportunities to grow and cooperate to ensure that this international trade corridor remains best in class.”

The gated homes belonging to the Ambassador Bridge are eyesores in West Windsor. The houses were purchased for the second span project. (Dale Molnar/TSWT)

Another obstacle to building a second span is a discovery during required archaeological digs at the site of the former Villa Maria nursing home that revealed historic human remains in 2018. Walpole Island First Nation (WIFN) was informed and resumed investigation of the remains. .

“We continue to work with the Walpole Island First Nation to settle the Villa Maria property. The WIFN must continue its archaeological work and this will allow the issue of remains on the property to be fully and properly settled,” Jentzen wrote.

If ever a second span of the Ambassador Bridge were to be built, it would be built just west of where it currently stands. (Dale Molnar/TSWT)

The permit also provides for a section of Huron Church Road from Wyandotte Street West to College Avenue to be used for the new span project, but the City of Windsor objects to this.

Politicians oppose the 2nd span

Mayor Drew Dilkens said he continues to keep lines of communication open with the bridge company.

“I went to Michigan and met [bridge owners] about a month ago to have conversations,” Dilkens said. “We are not isolated from them. We’re not restricted from trying to make sure they understand what they need to do to meet the requirements of the city and they’re doing the right thing for the people who live in the west end of the city. . »

Dilkens said the city wanted to raise its concerns with the federal transportation minister if Ottawa were to consider extending the permit.

Transport Canada has given TSWT News no indication in a written statement that it intends to extend the permit, and neither the mayor nor local MPs are supportive.

“I have had meetings with the City of Windsor and have also expressed directly to Transport Canada our desire not to see an extension of this permit,” said Windsor-Tecumseh Liberal MP Irek Kusmiercyzk.

Mayor Kusmiercyzk and Windsor West NDP MP Brian Masse agree the bridge company has had enough time to comply with the permit.

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