Ambassador safety no issue in Canada

WINDSOR, Ont. — While the owner of the Ambassador Bridge battles U.S. legislators over the release of a safety study, no concerns are being brought forward in Canada.

According to a report in the Windsor Star, Transport Canada has been monitoring private safety inspections of the Ambassador Bridge and has no concerns about its condition.

The owner of the private Ambassador Bridge, Matty Moroun, has full autonomy over the bridge and its operations. Legally, he can restrict federal inspectors and even law enforcement from the property. He reportedly hires his own third-party consultant to inspect the bridge annually and turns over the report to federal authorities.

In Canada, the International Bridge and Tunnels Act was passed earlier this year, which for the first time gives public officials the right to inspect the bridge on the Canadian side. The legislation requires every international bridge or tunnel in Canada to perform an inspection at least once every two years.

While Transport Canada is pleased with the results of the 2007 safety report, the inspection report is the property of the bridge company and Transport Canada is barred from releasing details.

In the U.S., Moroun is locked in a legal battle to keep those details private. The bridge company claimed in its lawsuit that inspection reports released by Rep. John Dingell threatens security and violates a confidentiality agreement the bridge signed with the Michigan Department of Transportation before it allowed the inspection to take place.

The inspection was ordered by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration in 2007 before it would approve construction of the $230-million Gateway project in Detroit, which includes a larger, redesigned entrance plaza and better freeway access to the bridge.

Most recently, a U.S. federal court granted Matty Moroun a 10-day extension of a restraining order that prevents a Michigan congressman from releasing a safety inspection report on the aging structure.

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