Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Downtown Access Roads: Your Turn To BLOG

I have been writing a bit too much over the last few days so my fingers hurt from typing. I thought that I would create another one of those Do-It-Yourself BLOGs where I give you the facts and you can make up a BLOG for yourself. If you want, you can send it to me and I can publish your comments too.

In this case, I will show you how co-operation works and especially how important it is to have a Provincial Cabinet Minister on your side. I will give you some information that took place in the 1990s that will help explain why the City and the Bridge Company are such competitors. Then I will provide data to you about what happened with previous changes in plazas at both the Tunnel and the Bridge. Finally I will let you decide what all of this means for yourself.

You could as an example ask why what happened in the 1990s cannot happen today even if the Bridge and City are competitors. Or you can explain exactly why Eddie is fighting the Bridge Company and will not give them an inch. Heck, you might even want to throw in why we ought to co-operate with the Senior Levels. Or you might have a totally different angle on this.

Whatever you do however you should understand that the issue on the access road is a lot more complicated than the Mayor and the Windsor Star are trying to make you believe. In this respect, I hope that I am helping you learn a lesson from the past.


$14 million more for Huron Church work
Windsor Star 1989

The province is funnelling another $14.5 million into the widening of Huron Church Road, pushing the reconstruction date forward by an estimated two years. Ontario Transportation Minister Bill Wrye announced this morning that Phases II and III of the project can get under way as soon as engineers draw up the plans.

Calling Huron Church Road a "vital link between Ontario, Michigan and the entrie American midwest," Wrye (MPP - Windsor-Sandwich) said the stretch of Huron Road from the Ambassador Bridge to Cabana Road will be widened to six lanes with a centre median barrier, possibly as early as 1993.

Wrye said he brings a "local sensitivity" to the traffic dangers and congestion that have plagued the stretch of road plus a cabinet position which didn't hurt the acceleration of funding.

"I know that we've been waiting long enough," he said...

Mayor John Millson said the influx of money was a signal of the co-operation between the the city of Windsor and the Ontario government, calling the project "a wonderful step forward... for the beautiful gateway to Canada."


Improvements to Bridge coming;
Windsor Star 1991.

Major improvements around the U.S. side of the Ambassador Bridge to quadruple its traffic flow are expected to be detailed today.

The plans include expanded trucking and customs inspection services on the Detroit side of the bridge...valued at more than $20 million US...

Windsor will be represented by Councillor Rick Limoges, who said today he didn't have any details of the development. But any improvements that remedy congestion should encourage more tourists to come to Windsor, he said.

If the development does reduce congestion at the bridge, it could attract customers from the tunnel. So the city finds itself in a curious position - it stands to lose revenue if the bridge makes these improvements.

"There are only two guys playing this game - one is the Ambassador Bridge and the other is the tunnel," said Councillor Mike Hurst, a member of the Windsor Tunnel Commission, the city arm of the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel Commission.

"If our main competition is going to expend funds to make it easier for motorists to get back and forth, that's a challenge the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel Commission is going to have to take up - no doubt about it."

Recently, the Windsor commission voted to look at revamping the Windsor exit of the tunnel, realigning the lanes and the Customs and Immigration plaza so more cars can be accommodated. While the tunnel has just two lanes compared to the bridge's four, improvements can be made to increase the capacity of the tunnel, Hurst said."


IN GEAR: Bridge, tunnel improvements tackling tie-ups;
Windsor Star 1994

Remember those wearisome tie-ups at the border three years ago?

The owners of the two main traffic funnels linking Windsor and Detroit are pouring millions of dollars into improvements to avoid a repeat as the local economies pick up.

The Ambassador Bridge and Windsor-Detroit Tunnel are getting their most dramatic facelifts and reconstuctive surgery since opening over 60 years ago...

BY THE END of this month, the Windsor Tunnel Commission wants the rebuilding and expansion of its plaza under way...

Each step of the plaza reconstruction will be timed to keep traffic flowing smoothly, said Gilda Everett, project assistant with the city.

"We're working on a marketing project during the construction because we don't want to give the impression that the plaza is obstructing traffic," she said.

Stamper says the bridge company is completing construction on new Canadian toll and customs buildings earlier than planned to accommodate the casino. It's also putting up additional interim toll and customs booths on the American side in the next few weeks. All of the existing U.S. toll and customs buildings are to be replaced over the next year.

But the casino wasn't a factor in the bridge company's decision to do major renovations and expand customs and toll-collecting facilities, Stamper said.

The traffic tie-ups that plagued border crossings in Ontario during the peak of cross-border shopping in the early 1990s were the wake-up call, he said.

That is when officials with the Detroit International Bridge Company, which owns the bridge, started to plan for the future.


Border crossings taking on new look;
Windsor Star 1995.

By the summer of 1995, Windsor will have two of the newest and most up-to-date land entries into Canada...

Improvements at both border crossings are being completed just as traffic volumes are on the increase...

Architects Bruno Bortolotti and John Couchman, partners in J.P. Thomson Associates Ltd., did the design work for the new bridge and tunnel plazas.

Both projects have been models of how quickly and effectively all the parties involved worked together, said Bortolotti, who is also an engineer.

At the bridge, which is privately owned, the architects had to work with the owner, as well as customs and immigration officials. Customs and immigration each has its own rigid standards for its facilities at border crossings, Bortolotti said...