Gov. Snyder: Ambassador Bridge bomb threat exposes need for new crossing

Jul 17, 2012

Gov. Rick Snyder says last night's bomb-threat that closed the Ambassador bridge for hours provides another reason to build a second bridge.

Last week, when a similar bomb-threat closed down the Detroit-Windsor tunnel, Michigan Radio's Lester Graham had his mind 1.5 miles down river, on the Ambassador Bridge. 

In a piece called "Detroit Windsor Tunnel closing bad; bridge closing much worse," he delved into the hypothetical economic fallout should the Ambassador bridge close down. 

If the Ambassador Bridge were shutdown or restricted, manufacturers would figuratively start countdown clocks. They’d calculate when they would run out of inventory and have to send workers home. With most companies following "just in time" delivery practices, inventory would run out quickly.

Commercial trucks between Canada, our biggest trade partner, and the United States have only that one bridge crossing between Ontario and Detroit. There are no convenient or economical options.

Many manufacturers in Michigan rely on components from Canada, or they ship needed parts to Canadian plants. A closure of the single bridge crossing would slow or close hundreds of plants and put thousands of Michiganders out of work.

Four days later, Graham saw his speculations materialize when someone called 911 around 7:20 p.m. last night, saying a bomb would go off on the bridge in 10 minutes. Authorities were able to reopen the bridge at 1 a.m., and traffic was back to normal by this morning, so the shutdown didn't cause major disruptions.

Nevertheless, the bridge closing strengthened the governor's commitment to build a second bridge over the Detroit River, reports the Detroit Free Press.

[Snyder] told reporters it’s “terrible to hear about any kind of bomb threat in any circumstance,” and “that’s something that needs to be investigated and dealt with thoroughly, appropriately and quickly.”

He added: “As a practical matter, one of the challenges and important things to think about are the homeland security aspects of our crossings. So again, this new crossing would be helpful in that regard, and in terms of creating other options.”

Gov. Snyder has already signed an agreement with Canadian officials to pursue a new bridge, which the Ambassador Bridge owners oppose.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio News