Sandwich And Delray Are Saved
If there was a PLAN, a REAL PLAN for the border, shouldn't we grab it? And if it did not cost taxpayers any money, wouldn't that make better sense so we could use the billions required elsewhere (and if one lived in Michigan, one would get matching Federal funds for private money spent too) . I would have thought that it was a no-brainer
Windsorites were fighting over where the crossing and plaza should go---we still are.
Windsorites were fighting over the location of the road to the border----we still are.
Windsorites were fighting for a seat at the table---after the Snub, we still are.
What has changed is that now we know more precisely which neighbourhoods will be destroyed on both sides of the river: Sandwich, Delray or both. (The Star keeps saying this as well so it must be right) They will be the home of the bridge and the plaza if DRIC has its way notwithstanding the opposition of citizens and the Mayors and Councils.
As for the road to the border, Windsor has done it to itself. Our Mayor has identified for everyone to see that we are the problem now notwithstanding that we have been sitting on $300 million for roadway improvements for years and did nothing. So the Mayor after a year of inaction on tunneling now demands a tunnel before the election, Councillor Budget who seemed to forget who got him elected and why threatens a lawsuit over a border crossing route. Council seems to have forgotten what was said in WALTS and Schwartz.
I thought that I would post some information from the Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project document as was reported in the Star but in much more detail so you, dear reader, can decide for yourself its value. Especially in light of the shocking misinformation that has been spread and is talked about as gospel by MPs in the Bill C-3 debate, it is important for you to read what the Bridge Co. proposes and what its impact on Windsor is. I shall be posting below relevant sections and commenting on some of them to tell you why I think they are significant.
The project identified as the “Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project” … will connect directly to the Canadian and US Plazas owned by DIBC/CTC. The Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project will be constructed entirely within the limits of the current operations of the DIBC/CTC. [There should be rejoicing in Sandwich and Delray since the bridge will be located where the exisitng bridge is today. No destruction of the Community by a new bridge and plaza being constructed in Sandwich or Delray. Even Councillor Jones should be happy since the answer to his question at the Joint Councils meeting in Detroit should now be obvious. I said there "should be rejoicing" at a solution that works but of course there will not be. Who can ever give the Bridge Co. credit for anything?].
..the Ambassador Bridge Gateway Project originally approved with an Environmental Assessment and a Finding of No Significant Impact [What, no negative environmental impact too?]
Three primary objectives are cited on page 1-1 of the Final Environmental Assessment for the Gateway Project including “Accommodate future border crossing capacity needs and a potential future second span of the Ambassador Bridge located west of and adjacent to the existing bridge”. [In other words, what's the big deal? The project was designed for an enhanced bridge right at the start of the Gateway project years ago. $200 million has been spent by the Americans so far and someone wants them to spend a billion or more to duplicate everything a mile or so down the road when there are other uses for the money?]
The DIBC/CTC Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project would seamlessly interact with the Gateway Project transportation plan already underway in the Detroit River area. [Obviously so, since the Gateway project anticipated the enhancement]
The Michigan Department of Transportation is currently completing design plans for the reconstruction of the entire Ambassador Bridge Interchange to provide direct access to I-75 and I-96. This project has been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration and includes provisions ensuring that the design will accommodate a second span adjacent to the existing bridge. The project is scheduled to be completed and opened to traffic in 2009. [As above. Note the involvement of the State and Federal authorities. The Michigan Legislators should be asking why money is being wasted on DRIC when it is clear that an enhanced project was to be built at a time in the future. The waste of money is incredible to me. Someone needs to explain what is going on!]
Congestion is also being addressed on and around the Ambassador Bridge through the Bridge Plaza Expansion to the east and the west. [Canadian issues are being adressed as well]
The DIBC/CTC has determined that the enhancement of the existing Ambassador Bridge crossing is feasible and desirable. The enhancement would include a new six lane cable stayed bridge located in the same corridor near the existing Ambassador Bridge, consistent with the approved and ongoing Gateway Project. This bridge would simply tie directly into the existing plazas in both Canada and the United States without modification to their currently approved and permitted configuration. The proposed bridge would run roughly parallel to the existing Ambassador Bridge. The width of the proposed bridge is set to allow transition directly into the connection points in both the United States and Canadian Plazas. ["located in the same corridor, simply tie directly into the existing plazas, run roughly parallel,The width of the proposed bridge is set to allow transition directly" Do you get it---it's all going within the existing location with no need for lands to be taken in Sandwich and Delray]
Once the new structure is completed, the existing Ambassador Bridge will be taken out of service for some period of time to effect repairs that are deemed necessary. Once any necessary repairs are completed, the existing structure will be used to provide redundancy and backup support when necessary to ensure the free flow of traffic between Windsor and Detroit at all times. [Just like in Sarnia with the Blue Water bridge. It will provide redundancy ]
All existing roads and streets in both the United States and Canada would remain open and will continue to function as they currently operate. [I'll talk more about this later]
The DIBC/CTC will fully fund the construction of the entire project from the plaza connection in the United States to the plaza connection in Canada, and will be reimbursed by the toll revenues collected in this corridor. The federal, provincial and state governments of both countries will not be expected to contribute funds towards the design or construction of the Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project. [Imagine that, fully funded upfront by a private company at their own risk. My understanding is that MICHIGAN makes money on the deal since they get matching funds from the Feds that can be used in other projects. ie Michigan spends no money on the bridge but gets federal funds matching what the private company spends.]
The Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project will be located almost entirely within the right-of-way already owned by the DIBC/CTC. Very minimal additional right of way will be needed where the piers are placed in Canada and the United States. No federal lands are involved. [I could say it a different way, but I have said it above re Sandwich and Delray]
The bridge will connect directly into the existing bridge and plaza in Detroit and into the existing plaza in Windsor. No modifications will be required in the plazas themselves, instead the new bridge will connect directly to the plazas as anticipated by the approved and ongoing Gateway and Windsor Plaza Expansion Projects. [As above]
The design of the Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project has begun and is expected to be completed within 18 to 24 months. Construction is scheduled to begin after design is complete and consistent with traffic volumes. [We are looking at a very short time frame for completion. DRIC will be in the middle of lawsuits for years IF anyone does anything with their report other than shelve it]
This [DRIC] ..decision does not prevent the owners of the Ambassador Bridge from continuing with its separate environmental studies in accordance with the legislative requirements in both countries for permits/approvals for a new bridge at this location.” [DRIC is a long-term project for a new crossing. The Bridge Co.'s project was called a project for an "existing" crossing so that it was not part of their mandate. The Bridge co. could act on its own, legally and it did!]
The neighboring parks, schools, and neighborhoods, or industries will not be affected by the project. The land use of the area would not change by the proposed action because the location is within the existing corridor of a similar facility, the Ambassador Bridge. Both Mill Road and Indian Road in Windsor would remain as local roads and therefore, the land use would not change. [As Above]
Neighborhoods will not be negatively impacted by the proposed action. [As Above]
The ongoing approved and permitted Ambassador Bridge Gateway Project and the Windsor Bridge Plaza Expansion will improve both traffic and circulation around the Ambassador Bridge and the proposed bridge. They will provide more direct connections to surrounding roadways and improve the border processing. [Didn't the American DRIC effectively say this in relation to the Gateway project and why that site made so much sense?]
No work will be done in the plazas. We are proposing only to add traffic lanes in the form of a bridge which is entirely consistent with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration approved Gateway Project. No bridge piers will be in the Detroit River. Little to no environmental, social, or economical impacts are expected [Any rejoicing in Sandwich or Delray yet? Perhaps this can be part of Eddie's May 24 birthday party too]
The proposed bridge is not inconsistent with any state, Indian tribal, or local environmental protection, historic preservation, noise control, visual impact, or social impact control ordinances; EPA; Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) noise standards; Michigan or Windsor plans under the Clean Air Act; floodplain protection; or the Coastal Zone Management Plan. [Those tree-hugging, rattle snake loving pesky environmentalists won't have to picket outside the Cleary any more when the Mayor speaks or deliver speeches that get the biggest applause of the night at Council meetings in Tecumseh]
Locally, the residents of Detroit and Windsor are frustrated with the delays and congestion associated with the current border crossings and connecting roadway systems. The proposed action would not change traffic patterns or increase traffic volumes. The proposed action is consistent with future land use plans in both Detroit and Windsor. New utilities would not be required nor would other infrastructure demands such as sewer water and public transit. The proposed action will not alter wetlands or change the use of parks, farms, or floodplain. The proposed action is consistent with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration Finding of No Significant Impact for the Gateway Project which included provisions to ensure that a second span across the river would be accommodated. [Happy Days...a FONSI decision]
Economically, the proposed action would provide many jobs for the area during the construction of the bridge. Additional jobs would be created after construction to operate the additional facilities and for general maintenance on the additional structure. The proposed bridge would also facilitate the free flow of trade between the United States and Canada by providing better and safer driving conditions, providing redundancy in the infrastructure system, and reducing travel time between the two countries. [Imagine, years of work for the 9% unemployed in Windsor and work for local contractors on an infrastructure project. And if Eddie will only fix the road to the border, another $300 million around for Windsor workers!]
The proposed bridge is located in the same corridor as the Ambassador Bridge, which is registered with the National Register of Historic Places, and is located over the Detroit River. However, since the bridge piers are located on land, approximately 25 to 75 feet (7.5 to 23 m) from the Ambassador Bridge, neither the bridge nor the river should be affected. No negative environmental aspects are expected. [As above]
The proposed action consists entirely of a bridge so the only impacts on the land are at the locations of the piers. The DIBC/CTC currently owns nearly all the land needed for the enhancements. No churches, or cultural institutions will be affected. The University of Windsor in Canada is located to the east of the current Ambassador Bridge. The proposed bridge would be located west of the Ambassador Bridge; therefore, the University would be materially unaffected. The Corktown Historical District is also located east of the current Ambassador Bridge in the United States. Construction would not take place in or around Corktown Historic District and access to the District would not change. No known archeological sites exist within the project area. Furthermore, the proposed action would not cause changes in the way members of the surrounding community or neighborhoods live, work and play. [What a disappointment for some, no disruptions to complain about!]
With no negative environmental impacts and the fact that such an action was anticipated under previous studies and an environmental assessment that has been approved and reaffirmed on two occasions, the proposed bridge is not expected to be controversial. [Someone must be overly optimistic. Don't they know Windsor? This is a Bridge Co. project. No matter what the merits, it is BAD and has to be opposed!]
No environmentally sensitive areas are expected to be disturbed or altered. [As above]
That's the important part of what the document is all about, with one exception. Whatever happened to the Ring Road?
Easy, the Bridge Co. simplified their project and eliminated the issue for roads. That was always and is the Government's responsibility. The Bridge Co. made a mistake by getting involved in that in the first place. Sure they proved that the City's WALTS road to the border worked and sure it was the basis of the DRIC and Schwartz roads but all they received was animosity. So let Eddie and the Senior Levels fight that fight since they know so much more.