September 21, 2012 — Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) crews have opened the ramps from I-75 and I-96 to the Ambassador Bridge plaza today, bringing relief to motorists and the local community. The opened ramps will effectively remove all border traffic from service drives and other local roads in southwest Detroit, while the completed public roadway will allow motorists the option to access toll booths directly or visit the duty-free plaza before proceeding to the Ambassador Bridge.
“The dedication and perseverance of the MDOT staff, consultants, and contracting crews to deliver this project in such a swift manner is simply outstanding,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle.
The opening of the ramps and dedicated road inside the plaza comes less than seven months after Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Prentis Edwards directed the Detroit International Bridge Company (DIBC) to cede control of their portion of the $230 million project and ordered MDOT to complete the remaining work. In the March 8, 2012, Opinion and Order issued by Judge Edwards, the DIBC was directed to deposit $16 million into an account to fund construction.
MDOT moved rapidly, pursuing a design-build process that was identified as the fastest way to complete the remaining work. The contract was awarded on April 12, and work to remove the controversial Pier 19 began swiftly on April 14. The first phase of the project was completed on May 15 with the opening of the two-lane truck road.
“I want to congratulate Director Kirk Steudle and the entire Michigan Department of Transportation team for the fast and efficient completion of the Gateway Project,” said Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. “The project enhances Detroit’s role as a key transportation hub by improving the flow of traffic and commerce between Michigan and Canada, our most important trading partner. This is vital to Michigan’s economic future. MDOT’s impressive performance demonstrates how efficient and effective state government should operate.”
The DIBC had been under court order for the past two years to complete their portion of the Gateway Project, including removing numerous conflicting structures and constructing additional dedicated public roads as agreed to in its contract with MDOT. When the DIBC failed to meet its portion of the contract, MDOT had no choice but to pursue legal means.
“The past few years have been challenging for MDOT and the residents of southwest Detroit,” Steudle said. “We made a commitment to the taxpayers of Michigan that their investment would not solely benefit one entity and we delivered.”
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