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Debating whether hazardous materials should be transported over Detroit’s Ambassador Bridge

Opponents of move have been vocal

DETROIT – On Monday, Local 4 News went one on one with Ambassador Bridge officials to talk about whether the company should be allowed to transport hazardous materials over the international crossing.

The state confirmed to Local 4 a request has been made from the Ambassador Bridge to allow hazmat to cross over it.

But at the same time the Michigan Department of Transportation says they asked for certain information from the Ambassador Bridge company months ago and still have not received anything.

The debate is causing quite an uproar.

“Our effort here is not the volume of traffic we want to get, it’s to offer our customers the same kind of service that they get at the Blue Water Bridge and that they expect to get at the Gordie Howie if and when it’s built,” said Ambassador Bridge company president, Dan Stamper.

Typically, the Ambassador Bridge company doesn’t do many interviews.

“We are tearing out all the old road joist the steel underneath the road and putting in new road joist and putting in this galvanized steel grid,” said Stamper.

Local 4 cameras have never been allowed on the property like they were for this story.

Cameras were able to go inside their control center to get a behind the scenes look. It was clear they wanted their message out and the Local 4 Defenders had some questions.

Stamper discussed fire suppression.

“We installed additional fire suppression systems both in Canada and in Detroit and have agreed to, and have hired two environmental consultants to work with us," he said.

The bridge owners showed us part of their fire fighting system, a blend of pipes to bring water on the bridge and a variety of hydrants to fight a fire from below.

But according to a June letter from the state to the Ambassador Bridge company there still needs to be more work done, information needed on the system capacity, contingency plan, as well as as cleanup plan.

“We’re in the middle of us approaching revitalization. We have done most of the Canadian already, we have done the complete main span between the two towers over the water,” he said.

The bridge owners say the continual improvements and repairs they have made to the international crossing will make transporting the flammable and corrosive materials a safe option.

“We are doing all new concrete, all new curbs, all new electrical lighting guard rails so the bridge is rehabilitated for another 75 years,” he added.

However, opponents have been vocal.

Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan’s 13th Congressional District says this is a very dangerous toxic waste that they are trying to transport across this bridge.

″I hope that the State of Michigan will recognize that this is a health and safety issue and will keep our current guidelines in place," said Democratic Michigan State Sen. Stephanie Chang.

When Stamper was asked why there was so much drama over the topic, he replied, “My hope is that some of that is gone and people through these kinds of interviews and info we can realize that this is bringing more safety to Michigan,” he said.

But until the bridge company provides the state with more detailed information, no decision can be made.

The bridge company has many letters of endorsement including one from they Wayne County Sheriff. Still, community opposition is strong.

READ MORE: Local 4 Defenders stories


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