The 2.5 percent year-over-year decline in truck traffic on the Ambassador Bridge in 2011 gives the bridge’s owner ammunition in his fight to stop the construction of a publicly owned crossing.
The report of a traffic decline at the crossing between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, comes after Manuel “Matty” Moroun, owner of the Ambassador Bridge, was jailed last week as result of a long-simmering dispute with the Michigan Department of Transportation.
The billionaire trucking executive and his Detroit International Bridge Co. have blocked legislation that the Michigan Department of Transportation needs to move forward with a $5.3 billion publicly funded bridge. DIB said the declining traffic makes a second bridge unnecessary although the company has plans to build its own span adjacent to the existing bridge.
Temporary lane closure on the bridge crossing the Detroit River could have pulled traffic volume down. Overall truck traffic between the U.S. and eastern Canada increased 3.1 percent in 2011, and about a third of the traffic crossed the Ambassador Bridge, according to the Public Bridge Owners Association.
Moroun and DIB President Dan Stamper spent 36 hours in jail last week after Wayne County Circuit Judge Prentis Edwards put them behind bars for not following MDOT’s order to build a $230 million ramp. The ramp would connect the Ambassador Bridge to I-75 and I-96 on the southwest side of Detroit.
The duo was released after their attorneys gained them a reprieve until a three-judge panel hears the case Feb. 2. Attorney argued that Moroun wasn't the bridge's owner and pointed to the 84-year-old's ailing health, according to reports.
Moroun and Stamper could return to jail if they fail to uphold Edwards' order.