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Michigan DOT to receive $4.5M for completion of Gateway

Potentially ending a dispute that dates back to 2004, a Wayne County Circuit Judge has ordered the Detroit International Bridge Company to provide the Michigan Department of Transportation with $4.5 million for the completion of the Gateway Project. MDOT and DIBC signed a joint contract for the project in 2004, but the judge ordered that the government agency take over the entirety of its construction following a series of legal confrontations.

The Gateway Project was first conceived in the 1990s as a way to ease congestion in the greater Detroit area by building a number of new ramps and roads in order to connect the Ambassador Bridge to nearby interstates. MDOT signed the $230 million contract for the project with DIBC, which currently owns the Ambassador Bridge.

MDOT brought commercial litigation against DIBC in 2009 after the business reportedly failed to follow a predetermined design in its construction. The lawsuit argued that DIBC's design included a ramp and duty-free facility that left thousands of trucks on local streets and disrupted traffic. The judge instructed the company to dismantle and reconstruct its part of the project, but eventually jailed two company officials after growing irritated when little progress was made.

The eventually decided that MDOT would take over the project and complete any unfinished construction on its own, recently ordering DIBC to provide the agency with $4.5 million in reimbursement for the additional work. The judge rejected claims by DIBC attorneys that the company could complete the Gateway Project significantly faster and for less money than MDOT.

The Gateway Project is one of two large-scale bridge projects currently underway in Michigan. The New International Trade Crossing, jointly suggested by Governor Rick Snyder and officials in Canada, would see the construction of a bridge crossing the Detroit River and linking the city of Detroit and Windsor in Canada. The project is awaiting approval from federal regulators.

Source: Detroit Free Press, "Ambassador Bridge owners must pay $4.5M to reimburse for MDOT for Gateway project completion," John Gallagher, Dec. 18, 2012

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