The owners of the Ambassador Bridge, connecting Windsor and Detroit, have filed papers to either add 4-6 lanes to their bridge or to build a second bridge beside it. This was covered in the Globe and Mail's Report on Business yesterday, with more information in the Detroit News.
This story is of interest to me since my family home is about two blocks away from the bridge. Twinning the bridge is going to cut that in half and change the neighbourhood. So, no doubt, I have a bit of a bias here. The new traffic would be bad enough, but tearing down half the neighbourhood is too much for me. (See here, and here, for some past postings on this subject.)
In any case, the bridge people try to make the case that this bridge expansion needs to be built because of congestion that is threatening the most important link in Canada-US trade. While the bridge's importance is a fact, their proposal is matching the wrong solution to the wrong problems:
What the proposal to build now is all about is protecting the Detroit International Bridge Company's cash-cow monopoly, by squeezing out any room for new competition to come along.
A main contender to fight the bridge is the Detroit River Tunnel Partnership (DRTP), which has a plan to build a dedicated truck road leading from the 401 to an existing rail tunnel which would be renovated and expanded. It has several advantages -- an integrated customs facility, competition, trucks off Windsor streets, and a second crossing in case of security issues.
But, as Windsor Star columnist Gord Henderson writes, the bridge company has been estimated to rack in $75-million per year, just by maintaining an 75-year-old structure. They want to protect those profits and they have the cash to build something faster and with their own capital. They can squeeze everybody else out, and that's exactly what they're trying to do.