Public opinion stalls border plaza project

PORT HURON, Mich. — Due to a number of questions raised during a recent comment period, the timeline for expanding the U.S. border plaza at the Blue Water Bridge has been pushed back.

The comment period for the draft environmental impact study closed at the end of 2007 and due to the large number of responses the project is getting pushed back by about six months.

More than 1,000 questions were put to the Michigan Department of Transportation and by law the department has to respond to each one. Pushing back the $433 million project by six months is due solely to the large number of queries and the deadline for issuing a final environmental impact statement has been moved from summer to year-end.

With the delay of the environmental assessment, a final nod of approval from the Federal Highway Administration is now expected to come in early 2009. In the long run, six months might seem like a minimal delay considering work is not expected to be completed until six years after the final nod of approval.

The Blue Water Bridge is the fourth busiest land crossing between the U.S. and Canada and second busiest for truck traffic.

— with files from the Times Herald

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