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DRIC Bridge Gets Coast Guard Permit

June 7, 2014

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The Detroit River International Crossing bridge is a step closer to reality. The U.S. Coast Guard has granted a permit to build the planned $2-billion Detroit River bridge, which will eventually link Detroit, Mich. and Windsor, Ont.

The permit was granted after a U.S. federal judge granted the Coast Guard permission to issue the permit. The owners of the Ambassador Bridge, located just a few miles upstream from the planned site of the DRIC bridge, had sought an injunction to prevent the agency from issuing the permit, but the bid was denied. U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer said the Ambassador Bridge's lawyers failed to demonstrate how the DRIC bridge would do irreparable harm to their bridge.

Published reports say a Coast Guard permit to build a twin to the Ambassador Bridge has not yet been granted. The Windsor Star reports that Judge Collyer indicated it was okay for the coast guard to withhold the permit until the Ambassador Bridge's owners, Detroit industrial magnate, Matthew (Matty) Moroun, can secure air rights over the City of Detroit’s Riverside Park. So far, the city has refused to sell the park or those rights to the bridge company.

The DRIC bridge has almost all the permits its owners need to begin construction, including a U.S. presidential permit secured from the Obama administration a year ago. Some state permits in Michigan, which assess water impact issues still need to be obtained.

Moroun is engaged a five-year legal battle to stop the DRIC bridge in order to protect his estimated $60 annual toll revenue.

The Canadian federal government and its private sector partners, will finance the estimated $2.1 billion for feeder roads, plazas and the bridge crossing.

The U.S. Customs plaza on the U.S. side of the bridge remains the only significant expense sill not covered. It has yet to be budgeted by Washington and could delay the project further.

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