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Do you want more hazardous materials crossing on the Ambassador Bridge? MDOT wants to know

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is accepting public opinion until Dec. 23 on a request by the owners of the Ambassador Bridge to have some restrictions concerning the crossing of hazardous materials lifted.

Currently, transports carrying explosives, flammable liquids, infectious substances, radioactive materials and corrosives are not permitted on the bridge.

In 2020, the Detroit International Bridge Company asked for permission to allow transports with flammable liquids and corrosives onto the bridge.

Just this month, MDOT released a study on the request.

In summary, it found a “small difference in statewide risk” if the Class 3 (flammable liquids) and Class 8 (corrosive substances) restrictions were lifted on the Ambassador Bridge, “however, the difference is not significant enough to make a compelling case for or against any changes” the study found.

“My concerns remain the same as I had in 2020,” Windsor Fire and Rescue Chief Stephen LaForet tells CTV News, noting the City of Windsor is planning to draft a response and submit it to MDOT before the deadline.

The report does indicate the bridge has a “dry line fire suppression system that can be connected to water supplies” in the event of a fire but later in the report also indicates, “it runs parallel to the roadway surface, and it is exposed to potential damage in the event of a highway vehicle crash.”

“Additionally, many fires involving Class 3 (flammable liquids) require aqueous foam solution to properly extinguish,” the study found.

The 33-page study does not appear to have consulted with any authorities on the Canadian side of the border and MDOT’s scope of study ended at the “centreline” of the bridge span.

The report repeatedly references the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry, which used to shuttle hazardous goods across the border until September 2023, when it was idled for financial reasons.

Currently, the closest crossing for Class 3 and 8 materials is the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia.

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation referred a request for comment to Transport Canada.

“Transport Canada shall continue to ensure compliance with current legislation and regulations and monitor any United States’ decisions to amend restrictions on the transportation of dangerous goods across international bridges,” a Transport Canada spokesperson wrote in a statement to CTV News. “Although we may not currently have any direct role, should certain decisions fall under the scope of Transport Canada’s mandate, the department will not hesitate to step in and become involved in the process.

CTV News has reached out to the Canada Border Services Agency, the City of Windsor, Sandwich Towne BIA and the trucking associations of both Ontario and Michigan. Top Stories

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