DETROIT, February 27, 2009 – Department of Transportation (MDOT) Director Kirk Steudle today confirmed that the department does have ongoing issues with the Detroit International Bridge Company (DIBC) over contractual obligations in the construction of Phase I of the Gateway Project to construct a new 6,200-foot, six-lane toll bridge next to the Ambassador Bridge.
Issues between MDOT and the owners of the Ambassador Bridge surfaced Wednesday during a Michigan Strategic Fund Board meeting when the company requested approval of a $787.4 million private activity inducement bond for Phase II of the project (See “State Stiff Arms Ambassador Bridge,” 2/25/09).
Steudle said there is a signed legal contract between MDOT and the Detroit International Bridge Company that includes specific requirements to be met to comply with the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) in order to make use of federal dollars.
Steudle told MIRS a major MDOT focus in the contract is to ensure direct access from the new bridge plaza to the freeway and eliminate bridge traffic from passing through local streets. That is not being met at this time.
A meeting was scheduled to take place this afternoon between Greg Johnson, MDOT Metro Region Engineer and company officials to discuss issues MDOT has with the on-going project.
“Nothing is completely off track but we do have some concerns,” Johnson told MIRS. “There are some purposes and needs of the project that have to be met in order to receive federal dollars.”