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U.S., Canada steel allowed for new Detroit bridge, FHWA says

Proponents of the proposed new U.S.-Canada bridge note that the Ambassador Bridge carries over 8,000 trucks a day and is inadequate. (Associated Press)

The Trucker News Services

12/14/2012

DETROIT  — The U.S. Federal Highway Administration says steel from both the U.S. and Canada may be used in the construction of a Canadian-financed bridge planned for between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press report a waiver on a policy requiring that only U.S. steel be used went into effect this week. Backers of the project say they're pleased by the decision on the waiver, which was sought by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

Mark Butler, a spokesman for Transport Canada, applauded the waiver, calling it vital for the construction of the international span.

The owners of the Ambassador Bridge, which currently connects Detroit and Windsor, objected to the waiver. They want to build their own second bridge across the Detroit River.

Meanwhile, 16 construction and transportation organizations joined Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) in calling on President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to swiftly approve construction of the proposed new international trade crossing.

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The groups said in a letter to the president and Clinton that the new bridge would serve as a much needed alternative at the busiest U.S.-Canada commercial border crossing.

“Each day, more than 8,000 trucks use the Ambassador Bridge, an 83-year-old structure, which carried $120 billion of trade in 2011,” the groups said. “Inadequate capacity is restricting job creation and economic growth opportunities and the situation will only worsen as truck traffic at the border crossing is expected to increase 128 percent over the next 30 years. The Ambassador Bridge is inadequate to handle the demands of international commerce.”

In the letter from organizations representing construction workers, contractors, suppliers, businesses, manufacturers, and highway users said that, “while the new bridge is expected to sustain and create millions of jobs in the United States once finished, there will be an immediate boost to the construction sector as this significant infrastructure project gets underway.”

 The project is expected to support 10,000 to 15,000 direct construction jobs in Michigan alone, though the long lasting impact of a NITC will be felt by the entire region, the groups said.

“The entire Midwest relies on reliable transportation infrastructure at the Detroit-Windsor crossing to get goods to the market,” the letter said.

Associated Press sources contributed to this article.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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