As part of the work on the "Gateway Project," the Michigan Department of Transportation opened an access road that will move truck traffic coming from Canada over the Ambassador Bridge directly on to nearby highways.
Prior to the road opening, trucks had to drive on secondary streets in southwest Detroit to get to the highways.
The Detroit Free Press reports the road opened yesterday, and a ceremony for the opening is planned for today.
The Detroit News reports the opening comes 5 days ahead of schedule, but because of the legal battles around the Gateway Project, the road opening is really years behind schedule.
In actuality, the opening of the access road comes about four years behind schedule because of protracted legal battles between MDOT and the Detroit International Bridge Co. over the $230 million Gateway Project.
When completely finished, the project will remove up to 10,000 trucks a day from secondary streets in southwest Detroit and move them directly to and from the Ambassador Bridge plaza to nearby freeways.
The project was supposed to be a partnership between MDOT and the Detroit International Bridge Company, but a judge found the DIBC to be in civil contempt of court after the company didn't follow the judge's orders to complete the project.
On March 8, the judge ordered the DIBC to cede control of its portion of the project and ordered MDOT to complete the remaining work.
MDOT says 95 percent of the new truck route is completed, and about 20 percent of the overall project is completed. When will it be finished? MDOT says their goal is to be done with the project "within a year and hopefully much sooner."
Some interesting construction is going on down by the Detroit River, and more is about to start. Michigan Department of Transportation crews have been pouring concrete to finish a long-overdue road. Next week more crews will swing into action.
They will begin tearing down a concrete pier to nowhere, and then build a truck access road to help relieve congestion leading to the Ambassador Bridge. If you’ve come up to Detroit on I-75 from the South, you’ve probably seen huge trucks stacked up in the right lane.
One Detroit business owner says that project is forcing him out. Lafayette Bait and Tackle is literally stranded here in the midst of the Gateway Project, as trucks rumble overhead.
That project was a $230 million effort to better connect the Ambassador Bridge to surrounding highways.
It’s also the subject of a long-running legal dispute. The Michigan Department of Transportation says the Ambassador Bridge Company violated project plans when it built entrance ramps and a duty-free plaza.
The Bridge Company has lost several rounds in court. But the ongoing legal drama has left Lafayette Bait and Tackle cut off from the surrounding neighborhood.
Business owner Dean Aytes says his landlord hasn’t paid the taxes on the property. And a lawyer for bridge owner Mattsay Moroun says the landlord has now agreed to sell the property.
Aytes says that means the shop will have to close for good. He says “that billionaire, Matty Moroun, put me out of business.”